So yeah, this is just the prologue. Possibly. I want to finish it, I do, I'm just so lazy. I hope I get reason to finish it.
Anyway, on to the show.
Title: Organic Bull Unloving Headstones
Rating: Um, possibly NC-17? This? Just R. Spike/Xander, eventually.
Spoilers for: Set during season 7 of Buffy, season 4 of Angel, somewhere in the middle of those two.
Summary: Xander disappears the before Glory is killed. Two years later, he's found, but he isn't...quite...right. In that, he's completely fucking nuts. Or is he????? O_o I suck at summaries. All that matters is that Xander disappears, and now he's back. How'd he disappear? Where's he been? How did he end up here? Just read it to see.
Please comment and criticize, please. My self-esteem is low as it is.
Angel wondered, watching his feet stomp along the grey, scuffed hallway, if it would be bad form to commit murder inside a prison.
He also wondered if it counted as murder when the victim in question was, in fact, a Trebt demon, and the prison was, in fact, the Ll’fiya Penitentiary for the Criminally Insane Demons.
Criminally Insane Demons, or simply CIDs, pronounced “Sids” and all staring at Angel behind rusted, pointed bars with yellowed, hollowed eyes, all staring and snarling and shouting and quivering and none the guy Angel was looking for.
It would help if he could ask the Trebt exactly where to find his CID, the only living being with any information on the Yekcim Clan, a motley crue of nearly every kind of half-breed race, slowly taking over the underworld of LA. They were definitely up to something, but for the unlife of him, neither Angel nor any of his so-called “crew” could figure out what it was. And if this fucking Trebt demon would stop talking, maybe he’d get to ask.
“....but yes, Mr. Angel, as I was saying, we were so very pleased to hear you were coming to tour our facility. We’ve only been managing this humble little place for about half a year ago, and you’d be amazed at the changes that we’ve made. Why, you wouldn’t believe the state of this place when we took over. Of course, it’s a well-known fact that the Trebts are a remarkably organized tribe.”
“I didn’t know that,” interjected Angel.
The demon looked back at him with beady, nervous eyes. “Er, well, I suppose our tiny little plane might be beneath the mighty Angelus, of course, of course. Please forgive me.”
“My name’s Angel.”
Ll’fiya looked not unlike a very large and very grey dumpster. It had no windows and a slanted roof, and was perched atop a high rocky cliff over a literal black whole. It was dirty in all the places that mattered, which was wherever the officers and staff were not, and the smell of decay and feces and despair was usually masked by the scent of cabbage. Angel suspected the cabbage part belong to the Trebt demons, who had employed a not-so-hostile take over six months earlier. The walls were painted vomit green.
They turned the corner. More cells, more dark corners, more shadows. More eyes. He could of passed the informant a million times over, and not know. This guy needs to shut up.
“But yes, as I was saying, the state of this place before we got our hands on it Can you believe it, there was absolutely no indoor plumbing until us? Imagine the filth ”
“You–“ Angel was confused. “You...made it better for the CIDs?”
The Trebt stopped. He turned to face Angel. It was difficult to tell through the fur, but it seemed as though he was frowning. “Well, we had to think of everyone, Mr. Angel. It wouldn’t be very fair for the officers to have toilets and not the prisoners, sir. We’re trying to please everyone, here at the Ll’fiya Penitentiary. I mean, look at this place now! Look at the state of it! We’re trying very hard, I assure you but, as the saying goes,” he sighed humbly, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
“What difference does that make?”
Angel had been in this stupid prison for almost three hours. Another hour and Fred would be sending out a rescue party in the form of Lorne in a brightly colored suit and a disgruntled Gunn, who was still angry they were communicating and dealing with any kind of demon in the first place.
The Ll’fiya Penitentiary was located in a what was most often referred to as a “pocket-dimension”, a little area between worlds too small to house a civilization or any kind of wildlife, but perfect for hosting ill-mannered monsters with deep, emotional problems, who had difficulty realizing when “no” meant “no”.
They reached a large, steel door.
“Ooh,” said the Trebt. “Don’t know if I should take you through here. This is where our craziest visitors live.” He chortled. He referred to every prisoner as a “visitor”, explaining to Angel earlier that every prisoner’s stay was merely temporary until they could be “persuaded back into normal society.”
The details about the Trebt demon was that he was very tall, although you couldn’t tell that by his personality. He wore an impressive Armani suit that would have looked more impressive if his great masses of fur didn’t puff around the cuffs and neck. He told Angel his name, but Angel would of needed two tongues in order to pronounce it. According to the demon, he was the best Human and Demon Relations officer they had on staff.
At the look on Angel’s face, the Trebt cleared his throat, pulled out a large key ring, and opened the door.
The hallway was darker than the others, which was saying something. An unseen source created two white circles of light in every cell, highlighting dirty feet, bloody claws, scratches on dusty floors, strange, aged stains even he couldn’t identify.
The Trebt was still talking.
“Oh, yes, we’ve revolutionized the penal process here in Sector SK37, completely revolutionized We were awarded the most organized filing system at last year’s Demon Correction, Criminal Justice, and Torture Conference in Pylea. Beautiful weather, this time of year. You been?”
“Yes. Look, have you see--”
“Oh, what a enlightening convention Everyone was so fascinating, Mr. Angel, I really suggest you attend this year. Everyone we met was so helpful, especially some of the torture lectures. I’ll tell you, strictly off the record, we’ve been having some torture problems here at Ll’fiya.” The demon pulled a face, one that said he had absolutely no part in the problem whatsoever, thank you very much.
Angel remained silent. If he asked, the Trebt demon would keep talking and talking and talking until the ridiculous tour was over and he needed to find that informant. If he stayed silent, the conversation would drop and he could ask. The Trebt demon kept staring at him out of the corner of his eye as they walked down the hallway. He kept clearing his throat, fiddling with his hairy sausage-like fingers and pulling at the cuffs of his suit. Angel would not succumb.
“What sorts of problems?” Angel asked.
“Well, they always complain ” said the Trebt excitedly. “We take away food and water and sleep, and all they do is whine We tried whipping them and dunking their faces in water, and they’d either beg to see a doctor, or have the nerve to simply die Can you believe it? Sir?”
“I mean, torturing is very tricky business, I’m sure you know. We try to find some method that will please everyone, but when our visitors suggested fatty sweets as torture, our officers were most unsatisfied. We’re sort of stuck, as it were.”
Angel made a noncommital sound, peering into the cells.
“I don’t suppose you could, ah,” said the demon, stumbling over his words. “I mean, if it’s not too much trouble, although I’m sure it wouldn’t be, but if you, er, just had the time, that is, I--”
Angel stopped and turned back to the demon, exasperated. The short end of his rope ended several miles ago. “What? Just say it.”
“Could you, perhaps, give us some pointers, sir? Just some effective methods we could give a try. We’re really at a loss. Something that will keep everyone happy, you know? If it’s not too much trouble.” The Trebt’s fur was matted with sweat around his forehead and neck. “I’ve read all your biographies, Mr. Angel, but they never gave any specifics as to your many victims’ demise.”
“Yeah, sure, no prob--” Angel broke off. “Did you say biography?”
“I said ‘biographies’, Mr. Angel.”
“Biographies. As in...?”
“More than one.”
“Right.” Angel thought for a moment. “Ok, sure, whatever, I’ll give you some pointers. You just have to do something for me.”
“Oh, of course, Mr. Angel ” said the Trebt delightedly. “You’d like a visitor to eat, of course?”
A solid, invisible tremor went through the corridor. Every demon prison in this universe and beyond used it’s prisoners as gifts or bribes or handouts. It wasn’t even considered corruption anymore. It was policy.
“Look, I’ll write you a whole goddamn guidebook to torture if you help me find Eroibe.”
“Who?” The Trebt demon looked ready to pass out with pleasure at the word guidebook.
“Eroibe. He was a half-human, half-Seik demon, been here for about a month for assault charges. Twitchy. Blue hair.”
The Trebt demon seemed to be thinking very hard. “Blue....hair...” he murmured, tapping his muppet-like hands against his coarse chin. Angel wanted to snap his neck.
“Oh,” said the demon suddenly. “Of course! Number 2145396! Blue hair! Yes, of course I know who you are speaking of!”
About fucking time. “Can I speak to him? Please?”
“No?” Angel wanted to claw out all both of the Trebt’s tongues. “Why the hell not?”
“He’s dead, sir.”
“Dead?” If Angel’s heart had been working, it would have not. “When did he die?”
“Oh, just a couple of day ago.”
“You executed him?”
“Lord no,” The Trebt demon sounded appalled. “Do you know how much paperwork goes into an execution? First we must draw the papers, then mail them, then sign them, then edit them, then file them, then lose them, then re-file them in the wrong drawer, then edit them again, then mail them again, then have them signed by several different people who are all completely illiterate, then the papers must be burned to end any kind of paper trail and then be drawn up again--”
“Okay, I get it. Just, shut up.”
Angel wanted to throw the Trebt demon into a wall. He wanted to burst into tears and huddle in a corner. He wanted to bust some caps. Instead, he dug his nails deep into his palm hard enough to draw blood, and asked, in a perfectly calm and sane tone, “How did he die?”
“Really, Mr. Angel, there’s no reason to shout,” said the demon. He had taken a step back, and was quivering. “I believe he was killed by another visitor.”
“Well, it appeared as though Number 2145396 desperately wanted to die. He had been badgering and starting fights and acting out during the daily aroma therapy sessions--”
“Oh, it’s a form of torture, I’m told. Full-on assault on their sense of smell. Quite effect with several of our guests. But yes, Number 2145396 seemed to rub everyone the wrong way, on purpose, and Number 6655321 simply answered his prayers.”
Angel teeth sounded like a cement mixer. “Number 6655321?”
“Oh, yes. He’s actually just down this corridor. Would you like to eat him instead?”
No. “Yes. Take me to him. Now.”
“Of course, of course. Right this way,” the demon swallowed. They started walking down the hallway again. “Um, about this, ah, guidebook...”
“What is 6655321?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“What is he? Or it?”
“Oh. Uh, hold on, let me see a moment.” He paused to take a very large packet entitled Things Not to Discuss With Outsiders or Tourists Unless Specifically Asked If You Know What’s Good For You out of his large suitcase. After flipping through several paged, the demon stopped.
“Ah, yes. Here he is. Number 6655321. One of the most vicious and violent visitors currently admitted to Ll’fiya. He’s been here for about a year and a half, for killing two Elos demons, a Morf, and a e’Xul monster. He’s been on death row for all the time, and for the duration of his stay he has killed over 50 visitors, seemingly at random. We lost count after 50. Ah, yes,” he said again, coming to a stop. “Here is his cell. Hello?” the Trebt demon called out. “Number 6655321? Wakey, wakey.”
Nothing moved inside the cell. Nothing moved within the white circle of light. Angel stepped forward.
“Number 6655321,” Angel said, turning his head to see the demon. “What is he?”
“I, um, I thought I just said.”
Something stirred within the small room. Chains clanked. Angel could just barely make out an outline of a form, a dull glow of the white of an eye. His voice seemed to have woken him up.
“No,” said Angel. “What is he?”
“Oh,” said the demon. He put the suitcase down again, and pulled out the packet. Papers rustled behind him as he took a step closer. “Oh, I just saw it.” Angel peered hard into the cell, trying to see anything.
“Here it is ” cried the Trebt demon. Angel craned his head to face him just as two dirty, pale hands shot between the bars and grabbed Angel by the collar of his shirt. The demon didn’t notice, still reading the packet.
“Gosh, I’m so silly for having forgotten,” said the demon bashfully as Angel felt hot breath on his face. “Number 6655321 is completely human.”
Angel slowly turned his head back to see a pale head grinning back at him. If Angel had been capable of breathing, he wouldn’t have.
“Is this salvation,” asked Xander, “or the prison warden’s stick sharpened at both ends that’s digging into my cerebral cortex?” If possible, the grin grew wider. His eyes were two chocolate brown pools on insanity. He cocked his head to the side. “‘Sup, Deadboy?” he asked before slamming his forehead into Angel’s.
Angel made a very un-vampiric oomph as he stumbled away from the bars. The sharp crack of their foreheads still echoed down the hall, and many of the other prisoners were making noise without actually making it. Xander had retreated back to his cell, pacing in the darkness. Angel could hear him muttering something, occasionally laughing, but he couldn’t make it out.
“Oh, my, Mr. Angel!” said the Trebt demon, rushing to his side. With the lights that were flashing in front of his eyes, the demon looked like the moon. A fuzzy, wuzzy moon. “I’ll have this filthy visitor taken out back and shot immediately.”
“What?” Was the moon speaking english?
“Well, of course not right away. There’s several forms that would need to be filled out first. But, mark my words, he will be dead within the next five years.”
Angel shook his head, roughly, trying to clear it. He felt like a cartoon character. Where did these birds flying around his head come from?
“That was 6655321?”
“Oh, yes, sir. I told you he was a vicious sort. But don’t worry, we’ll give him so extremely extensive torture sessions up to his execution, let me tell you.”
The man inside the cell snarled.
Angel stepped closer to the cell, being careful to not actually touch the bars. Xander stopped pacing, and Angel could just barely see his head turned slightly towards him. Angel cleared his throat. “Xander.” He cleared it again, not remembering when he swallowed an entire sandbox.
“What are you doing here, Xander?”
Silence, and then a laugh of disbelief. “Drinkin’ rum and coca-cola,” he sang softly, his voice harsh and melodic and soothing, “Go down Point Koomahnah. Both mother and daughter, working for the yankee dollar...” He laughed again, stepping into the white light. “Oh, you vex me, you vex me.”
Xander Harris. Xander bleedin’ Harris, who was a dead to the world as Angel was. Xander, who looked like a concentration camp had chewed him up for dinner. Xander, with an angry scar running down his face that matched the one running down his ribs that hadn’t been there when he disappeared from Sunnydale two years ago. Xander bleedin’ Harris.
“Please, Mr. Angel, you don’t want to deal with this sort, much less eat him. Probably tastes terrible. Insanity sours the blood. Now, there is a very savory-looking rapist just down the other hall. At least, I think it was the other hall...” The demon trailed off, in thought.
Ll’fiya was a labyrinth. If they really wanted to torture the prisoners, they should just set them free in the prison and make them try to find an exit. They could spend years in here, wandering about without seeing another person, let alone a way out, because there was, in fact, no way out. The only way to leave was through magic. There was no door. All officers and staff had to attend a year-long seminar in order to learn how to move about the jail, and even then, they were assigned their own special hallway and are told to stick to it.
“Do you have a file on him?” Angel asked, interrupting the Trebt demon’s thoughts. His eyes were still trained on Xander, who was still grinning, who was still running his dirty fingers over the long, jagged scar running down his rib. Who was still humming that song.
“Who, the rapist?”
“No. Him.” Angel jerked his head toward Xander.
The Trebt demon puffed up his chest with pride. “Mr. Angel, we have files on everyone.”
“Good, go get it. I’m taking it with me.”
“Um, certainly, sir. But, may I ask as to why...?” The demon looked as though he really didn’t want to know the answer.
“Because I’m taking him with me.”
“Oh, no!” the Trebt whined. “You can’t be serious! Please, reconsider--”
“No. I’m going to eat him. Just, not here.”
The Trebt demon paused. “You swear?”
“I swear. Fuck. Now, get him out of there.”
“How do you propose--”
“I don't know, just tranquilize him or something. Just get him out of there.”
The demon swallowed. “Right away, sir.”
And Xander just went on grinning, rubbing, humming. The Trebt walked away a few feet to speak to someone on his walkie-talkie. Angel stepped closer to the bars.
Xander stopped humming, looked down, and then looked up at him through his eyelashes. It was an expression he had seen on his face many times before; one of someone who was dying to say a certain something just to get a reaction. He was still smiling.
“Gobble me like Grendle, you solitary socialist hero, you,” said Xander. He looked down. Up. “I hope it’s not cancer.”
He started pacing again, in and out of the light. Still smiling, but he looked nervous now. “Can’t be cancer. Too hard for something soft. A nest of crabs looking for someplace soft. Too hard for something soft. Clip their claws and scuttle away once more. You say hi and you say hi again.”
He stopped and stared at Angel. His breath quickened. “You’ve forgotten your tongue numb on the one side! You’ve forgotten the order of order and the order of disorder! Picture this you iron junkie with your copper shirt and tie! I destroy solar systems and snowglobes with smoke rings like you destroy your inner voices! Do the math, do it, we’ve slept through the plague!”
He was shouting now, his scarred hands gripping the rusty bars. Angel could see them shaking. His ragged pants looked ready to fall off his bony hips, and his feet were bare. Angel wanted to smack him. He wanted to hold him. Xander’s brown eyes piercing his own, Angel wanted to hurt, but the lines had blended, and he could tell who or what.
Xander doubled over and coughed. He probably wasn’t used to talking, much less shouting, and the floor was sprayed with his blood. He looked up at Angel.
“Your son symbolizes the tower and your son symbolizes the worm. Cat scratches between knuckles.” He coughed again. “This is what I am now,” he rasped before passing out on the hard stone floor. The light landed on his face, and the shadows created a skull.
“Alright, Mr. Angel, you’re all set” said the Trebt, coming to stand next to Angel, who was still frozen in space, in time, in his worn leather boots. “You sure I couldn’t interest you in a child molesting Drekavac?”