Here’s the fifth part of “The Hounds of Love”. I’ve miscalculated; this section turned out to be twice as long as I thought it would be when I put together the outline, and so this isn’t going to be the conclusion after all. There will be one further chapter. It should be ready tomorrow, with any luck. Sorry.
4,021 words, rating PG13-ish, taking place during ‘Becoming Part 1’ and into ‘Becoming Part 2’.
Part one was HERE. Part two was HERE. Part three was HERE. Part four was HERE.
The Hounds of Love
A sudden cold wet shock jerked Spike back to consciousness. He opened his eyes and saw Angelus towering above him holding an inverted plastic bucket.
“Well, Sleeping Beauty awakes. You’ve been keeping me waiting, Willie boy, and I’m not a patient man.” Angelus smiled and tossed the empty bucket away. “You’re going to suffer for that.”
“Yeah, well, sorry I was inconsiderate enough to be sodding well unconscious,” Spike muttered. He tried to rise, only to find that he was tied to a chair.
“Like old times, isn’t it? It must be a hundred years since I last taught you your place.”
“Hoo bloody ray, let’s have an anniversary party,” Spike sneered. “What do you want, Angel?”
Angelus didn’t reply directly. “I was pretty confused when I woke up in the wheelchair,” he reminisced. “I couldn’t move my legs. Seeing as how you hadn’t hit me there, or in the back, I couldn’t figure out what had happened for a while. Then Dru worked it out.”
“‘If I only could, I’d make a deal with God’,” Dru quoted from behind Spike, “‘and I’d get him to swap our places’. That’s what you did, isn’t it, my naughty Spike?”
“It’s a fair cop,” Spike confessed. “Yeah. That’s just what I did.”
Angelus lashed out suddenly, hitting Spike across the face with the back of his open hand, and snarled. “You’re going to take it back, Spike, and the longer it takes before you do it the worse off you’ll be.”
“Why?” Spike asked, genuinely puzzled. “You’re all healed up and walking around, if you hadn’t noticed. Unless – is your dick not back in working order?” Spike grinned. “That it, is it? Can’t get it up?”
Angelus hit Spike again. “I can get it up just fine. The thing is, William, you stole more than just my health. You stole my destiny.”
Spike shook his head, partly to clear it after the blow, and partly out of incomprehension. “Destiny? Yeah, I’m the Champion now. Part of the deal. Only, you’d given up on the whole sodding Champion bit when you got into the Slayer’s knickers and lost your Nancy-boy soul. Want it back? Fair enough, only, I ain’t got it. Totally soul-free here. Still a soulless evil thing. Just doing the Champion gig to stay out of the wheelchair.”
Angelus growled. His features distorted and his vampire fangs descended. “Then why can’t I wake Acathla? I performed the rituals, said all the right phrases, blood on my hand, the whole deal just right, and what did I get? A big nothing. I’m the one foretold, the Champion who changed sides, and I get the big doughnut hole. So, I figure, your little swapping deal got more than you intended. You’re the Champion who changed sides now. So, either you swap back, or you wake Acathla for me.”
“Are you off your bird?” Spike said incredulously. “Why the sodding hell would I do either one? Don’t want to end the world, ‘case you hadn’t realized, you daft bugger. I like this world. It’s the World Cup next month, too. Not missing that just for some pointless bloody destruction. England’s got a fair chance, if Beckham’s on form. I’ve put up with thirty years of hurt and you want to stuff everything just when we’ve got a bloody chance of getting something back? Sod off.”
“Why should I care? I’ve no interest in soccer, and Ireland didn’t even qualify,” Angelus pointed out.
“Okay, how about this, then? The USA is in the same group as Iran. All kinds of potential for mayhem there, mate.”
Angelus snarled again. “I don’t care. I don’t share your stupid obsessions with the doings of humans. They’re a plague upon the face of the Earth and they should all be wiped out. Erased. I’m going to make an ending.”
“Well you can do it without me, you berk,” Spike said flatly. “Not gonna lift a finger to help you.”
Angelus shook himself and returned to his human appearance. He raised his hands with palms towards Spike and smiled ingratiatingly. “Hey, fair enough. I’ve got an alternative.”
“I want you back on side, Spike. It’ll be like old times, apart from not having Darla around. Forget about Acathla. The three of us, raising a little hell, a discreet amount of slaughter, just enough to have fun – it’ll be great!”
“Forgot about the wheelchair clause, have you, mate? First time I munch on a human I’m right back there. And I bloody know you’ll take advantage.”
“I don’t think so, Spike. You got our places swapped and in return you took over as Champion, right? And if you break the deal we swap back again? Well, I’m all fixed now. Swapping back won’t cost you a damn thing.” He beckoned Dru towards him, and she emerged from behind Spike dragging a bound and gagged man. “Help yourself, Spike,” Angelus invited. “I know you’ve missed it. Fresh, warm, blood straight from the source.” He took the man from Drusilla and forced him to his knees beside Spike, holding the man’s head to bring his neck close to the bound vampire’s mouth.
Spike could sense the blood pulsing, smell the man’s fear, and he could almost taste the delicious fluid. Despite that he had no trouble resisting the temptation. “Piss off.”
“Suit yourself,” Angelus shrugged. He jerked the human erect. His features rippled again and he plunged his fangs into the man’s throat. “Mmm, delicious,” he gloated. He forced the bleeding man back down towards Spike. “Sure you won’t have some?”
The smell was enticing, but Spike merely raised his eyebrows. “What part of ‘piss off’ didn’t you understand, you pillock? Think I’m bloody stupid? I’m not off the hook even if we can swap back and I miss out on the wheelchair. You’ll get your destiny crap back and you’ll be pulling the sword out of that stone in no time. The answer’s no.”
Angelus roared and punched Spike hard in the jaw. “Okay, we’ll do this the hard way. Dru, give me a hand here.”
The two vampires freed Spike’s legs from the chair and tied them together. They untied his hands, smeared them with blood from the dying human, and then carried Spike to the chunky stone demon. Drusilla clung on to Spike’s left arm while Angelus forced his right hand to the protruding sword, clamped it tight around the hilt despite Spike’s struggles, and tugged.
The sword didn’t budge. After a few seconds a flash of red energy burst from the sword and threw the three vampires back across the room.
Angel lay stunned for a moment. Spike’s arm was numb but he was otherwise unaffected. He grabbed for the ropes at his legs and tried to free himself. Unfortunately Drusilla had taken no damage at all from the energy burst and she seized Spike and held him down.
“Listen, Dru,” Spike pleaded. “Angel’s not playing with a full deck. He’s gonna destroy everything. No more blood for you, no more wicked games, no more pets. You’ve got to help me stop him.”
“It will be the biggest slaughter ever,” Dru replied dreamily. “Even better than if the nasty Slayer hadn’t broken the Judge.” She knelt on Spike’s left arm. “Wicked Spike, not doing what Angel wants.”
“The Judge was a daft idea anyway, although I never thought it would destroy much of the world,” Spike said. “A medieval army smashed it up, so I guessed a few tanks or a Warthog would wreck it before too much harm got done, and I was pretty much right. Sucking everybody into Hell is a whole different ball game. Drusilla, love, what’s the bloody point of it? What’ll you eat when there are no humans?”
His appeal to reason failed. “There will be rivers of boiling blood, and pools of tears, and the screams will be beautiful music,” Drusilla told him.
Spike’s right arm had recovered by this time. He punched Drusilla hard on the chin and knocked her backwards. Again he bent to try to free his legs, but Angelus had also recovered from the sword’s shocking effect, and Spike’s escape attempt was brought to a halt by a hard kick on the back of his head.
“Okay, so you want to do this the hard way. Suits me,” Angelus said. “Hey, the last time I tortured you they didn’t even have chainsaws.”
Spike laughed. “You really are a stupid sod, Angel.” Angelus kicked Spike again but didn’t stop the laughter. “You reckon that if I start acting evil again and the Powers swap us back then it’s how our bodies are now that counts? I should just bloody let you start lopping my arms and legs off, shouldn’t I? Some copper comes to examine the body, I bite him in the ankle, and voila! I’m back in full working order and you’re Stumpy the Amazing Limbless Vampire. You can’t bloody win, mate. Can’t afford to do too much damage to me in case it bounces back on you.”
Angel raised a fist but then lowered it again and stood looking confused.
Dru stood up, rubbing her jaw, and looked at Spike with her eyes wide and hurt. “You hit me, Spike. Don’t you love me any more?”
“’Course I still …” Spike began, by reflex, but then he stopped. Did he still love Drusilla? Somehow the connection didn’t seem to be there any more, or at least not in the all-consuming way that it had been there for a century. He looked at her now and he didn’t see his alluring Dark Princess; he saw someone who was evil and insane, who performed random acts of cruelty and depravity for no purpose other than momentary amusement, and whose endearing childlike mannerisms were to some extent consciously adopted for the purpose of manipulating the men around her. He shook himself both mentally and physically. Where had those thoughts come from?
Dru stared at him and pouted. “You don’t love me. It’s that Slayer, she’s taken you away from me. She’s all over you.”
“It’s you and bloody Angelus,” Spike retorted. “If you’d put me first and not him I’d never have gone off you.” He blurted the words out without thinking and was horrified when he realized what he had just said. Had he really gone off Dru? Well, if he was honest with himself, yeah.
The Slayer? Was it because of Buffy? Maybe. Certainly Dru suffered by comparison. Buffy was brave, honest, often very funny, and yeah, you couldn’t ignore the factor of her being a fit blonde. For that matter Dru suffered by comparison with the other girls with whom Spike was mixing these days.
Jenny Calendar had the same dark and sultry good looks, but topped them off with an intelligence, wit, and good humor that Dru sadly lacked. Cordelia was another real looker, smashing legs she had, and you could always rely on her saying exactly what she thought, no tact whatsoever, and oddly enough that made her fun to be around. Willow was cute, funny, and extremely intelligent; perhaps Drusilla lost out by comparison to Willow most of all, because Willow’s occasional childishness and naiveté was genuine and now Spike could see where Drusilla had been faking it. Kendra? Well, she had nice knockers, not a bad fighter but not quite as good as Buffy; their acquaintance hadn’t been long enough for Spike to notice much else about her. Oh, and she had acknowledged Spike as a Champion, and had presented him with a Champion’s sword.
‘Course, he’d lost the sword pretty well straight away; it was probably still lying on the floor of the motel room, dropped when Angelus had sucker-punched him, unless they’d brought it with them, and he didn’t see it around anywhere. He didn’t have it when he really needed it. The important thing was the presentation, however. It really had made him feel like a Champion, ‘specially when Buffy and Jenny and Giles had said their pieces backing up Kendra’s decision.
Drusilla’s frown deepened as she realized that Spike wasn’t even thinking about her any more. “Bad Spike. You’re lost to me, and you won’t do what Angel tells you. You’ll have to be punished.” She spun on her heel and walked off, her hips swaying, but Spike took no notice of the normally irresistible roll of her buttocks; he had a horrible feeling that he knew what she was going to fetch.
“If you’re not going to come back on side then there’s no reason for me to hold back,” Angelus warned. He kicked Spike in the back yet again. “If I keep this up long enough you’ll need the wheelchair again anyway. Of course, you can stop me any time you like. Just pull the sword out of Acathla.” Another kick thudded home. “I guess me doing it with your hand didn’t count, but you could do it. I’ll tell you the words to say.” Another kick.
Spike gritted his teeth and concentrated on thoughts of being a Champion. A Champion wouldn’t destroy the world just to stop some great hulking pillock kicking him. “Bog off,” he growled, unable to think of any sparkling repartee under the circumstances.
“So it’s ethnic insults now, is it, William?” Angelus kicked Spike again.
“What? Nah, that’s ‘bog’ as in ‘toilet’, you stupid bog-trotting Mick,” Spike informed him, getting another kick as he spoke. “Now, that was an ethnic insult.”
“Wicked Spike, won’t do as he’s told. But he’ll learn, he’ll learn.” Drusilla returned bearing a small crystal bottle with a glass stopper. “The water will burn, and Spike will learn.”
Holy Water. Spike tried to keep up a stoic appearance but inside he was wincing. This wasn’t going to be fun.
“Trickle and burn, trickle and burn, the water will make Spike listen and learn,” Drusilla chanted, dribbling Holy Water over Spike’s chest. Angelus had his knee jammed in Spike’s back and was pinioning his arms, holding Spike immobile and at Dru’s mercy. The torture had been going on for perhaps half an hour now and Spike’s face and torso were marred by a score of blisters and burns.
It was hard for Spike to keep track of the time, as he didn’t know how long he had been unconscious, but he guessed that it was somewhere around the middle of the day. Several hours to go yet before Jenny would be casting the ensouling spells. Hours of torture to endure. By now only his pride in being a Champion was keeping Spike holding on. Well, that and the thought of England versus Argentina in the World Cup, assuming England got past the first round, and the group wasn’t too tough with the other members being Tunisia, Romania and Colombia. Focus, Spike, focus. Think of England beating Argentina and going on to a final against maybe Brazil, or France. Yeah. That was a prospect worth a bit of torture.
“Don’t be a fool, Spike,” Angelus urged. “Quit while you’re ahead. Pull out the sword for me. You’ll crack eventually. Do it now and save yourself a lot of pain.”
“Three lions on a shirt,” Spike croaked. “Jules Rimet still gleaming. Thirty years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming…”
“Oh, you’ll crack well inside thirty years,” Angelus promised. “You’ve only had thirty minutes so far.”
“That’s enough!” Buffy entered the room with Spike’s sword in her hand. Kendra followed close behind her and Xander brought up the rear holding a crossbow. “Let him go, Angel.”
“Well, hello, lover,” Angelus greeted her. “I wasn’t expecting you. Shouldn’t you be at school now?”
“I’m skipping lunch,” Buffy informed him. “Let Spike go, Angel. Angelus.”
“What are you going to do, spank me?” Angelus grinned. “You won’t kill me. You’re still hoping to get back the man you love. You won’t risk that for the sake of a soulless monster.” He gave her his sweetest and most disarming smile.
“Funny, I’m looking at a soulless monster right now,” Buffy retorted, “walking around in the body of the man I love and defiling it. Torturing a guy who might not have a soul but who is a pretty good friend anyway. I might not want to kill you, and lose Angel for good, but I will if I have to. Back off, Angelus.”
Angelus glared at her. He hadn’t missed her deliberate use of the name used only by his soulless incarnation. “No, you back off or Dru will pour Holy Water down Spike’s throat,” he threatened. “I think we’ve got a stand-off.”
“She can’t do much pouring if she’s dust,” Xander pointed out, leveling the crossbow at Drusilla. “You know I’ll kill both of you and dance on your ashes. Just give me the excuse.”
“I got no love for you, vampire,” Kendra reminded him. “You do what Buffy say, mon.”
“Pretty little chocolate girl,” Drusilla murmured. “Look into my eyes, girl. Look into my eyes.”
“Don’t you bloody dare, Kendra,” Spike warned. “Same goes for you, Buffy, Harris. Don’t look in her eyes, she’s got Thrall.”
“Traitor!” Drusilla hissed, upending the Holy Water bottle over Spike’s torso. Only a few drops spilled out.
“So much for your threat,” Buffy said. “Give it up, Angelus. Hand over Spike or get to fighting.”
Angelus released one of Spike’s arms, shrugged, and then threw Spike at Buffy. He tensed as if to spring, saw Xander’s crossbow swing to aim unwaveringly at his heart, and instead he turned and ran off deeper into the building. Drusilla followed at his heels.
Buffy untangled herself from Spike and stood up. She ran the sword over the ropes that bound his legs but the edge was less than razor sharp and made no impression at first. She stuck out her tongue and pressed down harder, sawing away, until the fibers began to part.
“Should we go after them, Buff?” Xander asked.
“No time, Xan. He’s probably got more vamps in there and we’ve got to get back to school.” Buffy cut through the rope and began unwinding it from Spike’s legs.
“Good to see you, Slayer. Wasn’t expecting you before tonight, that’s if you even knew I’d got snatched. How’d you work it out, anyway?” Spike freed himself from the last of the rope and scrambled to his feet.
“I got a room at de same place as you,” Kendra told him as they headed out of the building. “I hear some t’ing goin’ on, but I too late to stop dem. I see which way dey take you, an’ Mister Giles he work out de rest.”
“Ta, luv,” Spike said sincerely. “Hey, how do I get out of here? Daytime. Sunlight.”
“Hold this over your head,” Buffy advised, giving him the cloth that had been used to wrap the sword. “The car’s just outside.”
“No, dey use dat to take you,” Kendra said.
“I don’t see it around, and we’ve no time to look for it,” Buffy said. “You’ll have to squash up with us.”
They reached the door to the outside and Spike saw a red convertible standing in the road. Not the ideal car for vampire transportation, but at least the roof was up. Cordelia was in the driver’s seat. “Everything okay?” she called.
“Mission accomplished, we’ve got Spike,” Xander reported.
“Okay, Spike, and only Spike and not any other vampires who might be listening, I invite you into my car,” Cordelia said. “Invitation to be revoked if you go bad, of course.”
“I really don’t think he will, Cordy,” Buffy said. “Okay, I’ll get the door open, Spike, you be ready to run for it.”
The embarkation was successful. Spike ended up on the back seat, between the two Slayers, only slightly singed by the bright sunshine. He kept the blanket over his head and bent low to protect himself from the rays that came in through the windows.
“I was going to say ‘let’s have a look at your hurts’, Spike,” Buffy told him, “only, I guess there’s too much sun in here for that. It’ll have to wait until we can get you somewhere safe.”
“Like where?” Cordelia asked. “We can’t exactly take Spike back to school with us, and I don’t think the hospital would know what to do.”
“It will have to be my house,” Buffy said. “Will you be okay on your own for a while, Spike? ‘Cause I’d stay and fix you up, only, Principal Snyder is just looking for the chance to jump on me, and if we’re late back from lunch it’s big trouble.”
“No problem. Drop me back at the motel, that’ll do,” Spike suggested.
“My house,” Buffy repeated. “Angel thinks that you can pull the sword out of Acathla, did I get that right, Spike?”
“Yeah. Dozy git thinks that the swap means that I got his destiny and that I’m the one that can pull out the sword, not him.”
“So he’ll be after you right away, and there’s no invite rule to protect you at the motel,” Buffy pointed out. “It might be hard for him to get there before dark, but not impossible. No point in taking the chance. You can stay down in my basement. I’ve got some blood in a cooler, okay? I should be home from school before Mom gets in, we’ll work something else out then.”
“Yeah, I s’ppose so,” Spike agreed. “Thanks for the rescue, everybody. Hang on a sec.” He turned to Kendra. “Will you be okay at the motel, pet?”
“I goin’ to spend de rest of de afternoon takin’ a nap in de sun,” Kendra said. “Dere’s no vampire goin’ to get me like dat. I be fine, mon.”
“Yeah, good idea,” Spike grunted. The pain was bothering him more now, when he was safe, than it had done during the actual torture, and he relapsed into silence for the remainder of the drive.
Another frantic dash through sunshine followed when they reached Buffy’s house. Once inside Buffy led him down to the basement. “Gee, Spike, you’re a mess,” she observed. “Maybe I oughta cut class to take care of you.”
The idea of a bit of attention, somebody dabbing ice on his burns and so on, sounded pretty good to him; and why should he care if the Slayer got into trouble at school? However, he was sure that a Champion should make light of his injuries and put up with them rather than cause problems for a fellow Champion, and almost against his will Spike found himself declining her offer. “Nah, don’t worry about it, Slayer. Bit of blood, a good kip, I’ll be as good as new.”
Buffy bit her lip. “Okay, Spike. Here’s the blood, you can crash out on that old cot, okay? I’ll get back as soon after class as I can. Oh, and Spike? You did pretty damn good there. I’m proud of you. Maybe I – you look after yourself.” She scurried away up the stairs.
A few moments later Spike heard the sound of Queen C accelerating away. He opened up the cooler and extracted a bag of blood, pierced it with his fangs and guzzled it down cold, and then settled himself down on the bed and tried to sleep.
Spike emerged from the shower and toweled himself dry gingerly. His skin was still raw and tender in quite a few places and the shower, although badly needed, had not been pain free. At least Buffy had brought him clean clothes, retrieved by Kendra from his motel room, when she arrived back from school and they felt much better on his tender patches than the filthy and bloodstained ones had done. He bundled up the old clothes, exited the bathroom, and set off down the stairs.
Buffy wasn’t alone. Her mother was there, home earlier than Buffy had expected, and Mrs. Summers stared in amazement at the stranger who was descending the stairs. “Who are you?” she demanded. “What are you doing in my house?” She turned to her daughter. “Buffy?”
“Oops,” said Buffy. “Busted.”
The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.
Lyrics quoted by characters in this chapter are from “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush and “Three Lions” by Baddiel & Skinner.