Title: The Collar
Rating: R / NC-17 in later parts
Disclaimer: I have absolutely no rights to BtVS or AtS, they belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy
Spoilers: Through Season 2
Warnings: Rape, Bloodplay, Violence. Because Angelus is a right bastard.
Summary: Angelus leaves Buffy a Valentine's gift, but she isn't the one to open it. AU from the Season 2 Episode Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered
Chapter: 6 of 6; There will be an epilogue following shortly.
Xander had run past four completely unprepared minions without noticing their presence. Spike, however, ran smack into the group and took a full minute to dust them, which is why Xander was three blocks away before he ran straight into a very upset mate.
"Just where in the bloody hell do you think you're going? At night, alone with Angelus and Dru and lord knows what else that hunts the streets of Sunnyhell roaming about?" He snarled.
"What does it matter?" An equally pissed off Xander snarled back. "Maybe they'd be doing you a favor if they ate me. Rid you of the stupid human, right?"
"I think you're forgetting a few things there, git. Like you die I die an' all that rot." Spike said, still angry but calming down.
"Right, sorry about that. I guess I was supposed to pick door number one, huh? Don't worry, won't happen again, and I'll make sure the gang finds a way to free you from the Xander shaped ball and chain asap."
"Tell me pet, does insanity run in your family, or is this something caused by exposure to the slayer? Maybe the fumes from her hair dye?"
"I get it ok, you don't have to keep insulting me. You don't love me, I was crazy and stupid to think you would. I get it. I'm just sorry I trapped you in this damned bond. I know it isn't what you wanted." Xander was fighting back tears.
"Xan, you are an idiot, and the reason you are an idiot is because you think I don't love you."
"Don't Spike, please don't. I heard you talking to Giles, you know I did. You told him you wouldn't have done this if you had a choice."
Spike pulled Xander into a hug, vampire strength overpowering human struggles for freedom. "Xan, love of my unlife, git extraordinaire, I wouldn't have done this if YOU had a choice. I didn't want to trap you into a bond. I wanted to bond with you because you love me, not because it was the only way to survive my crazy arsed sire. I didn't want to trap you into being sixteen for bloody ever while you watch your friends grow up. All because we had no choice. Just because I regret the shotgun wedding, don't think I regret the marriage, pet."
"Really?" Xander asked.
"Really, really." Spike said, then kissed him long and hard.
"You know I can't decide which is worse," Xander said with a smirk when they broke the kiss. "You quoting Shrek, or the fact that I was Fiona."
"Oye, there's nothing wrong with Fiona. For a green chick she was kinda hot... and she kicked ass." Spike said with a smirk. "Come on, luv. We better go check on your watcher. I left him facing off with Angelus."
"You did WHAT?" Xander screamed.
"The bastard showed up, we had a couple words, he threw me into a wall, then old Rupes came along and ordered me to go collect you. From what I could see he had a couple tricks up his sleeve, but we still need to get back and check on him." Xander grabbed his hand and pulled him down the street towards the school.
"I assure you, Xander, I'm quite alright." Giles insisted for the fourth time.
"I'm just so sorry I overreacted and ran off. You could've been hurt or killed or anything, and I made it ten times easier for him by splitting us up."
"As you can see I'm fine. Now the matter of where you will be staying. If you're both alright with it, and considering your belongings are already there, the pair of you might as well stay in my spare bedroom until such time as we can find a more suitable place for you."
"Thanks, Giles, really."
"Yeah, Watcher, that's right neighborly of you. 'preciate it, mate." Spike said quietly.
"Yes, well, I think its high time we head home then. It's been a very long night and some of us have to be at work in the morning." Giles said before leading the pair out to his car.
While not quite normal, things were at least quiet for the next few days. They were all ostensibly searching for clues about Acathla, but Willow was looking just a little too attentively at a book on vampire rites. Spike stifled a good glare in her direction. He knew what she was actually looking for and was fully prepared to call her on it when he began to feel a strangely familiar itch. "Slayer are you doing anything... funny? Some sorta weird mojo or meditation out o' body crap?"
"What the hell are you going on about now, Spike?" She said raising her head up from the book she'd been napping on.
"Well, it's just I can see you there, and feel the weird slayer vibes you put off, but I can also sense you out towards the front of the school, moving this way pretty quick."
"Right... everyone grab a weapon." She ordered facing off with the door. Spike and Xander both remained comfortable and slipped back into reading. "Wait, is this some kind of joke, Spike? Wind up the slayer? Cause I'll have you know, its truly amazing what things you can live through... for example-"
Spike cut her off with a gesture towards the library door. "What was that you lot said to me again? Oh yeah 'Double the slayer... no waiting."
The library door opened just then and they all turned to face the newcomer, while Spike settled back snuggling up to Xander and watched.
"Mah watcher sent me. There is a-"
"Dark power rising?" replied Buffy, Willow and Xander at the same time.
"Yes. Is dere a reason we are not killing dat vampire?" She asked and gestured towards Spike.
"Yes." Buffy replied. "For now at any rate."
"Buffy!" Xander said angrily before turning to Kendra. "I am Spike's consort, Kendra. It's a long story, but he's helping us now, and killing him will kill me, so make with the nice, please."
"Yeah, we aren't allowed to slay Xander's souless wonder." Buffy said with a glare.
"Of course it's Buffy's souless wonder who's trying to end the world, not mine." Xander replied with an answering glare. This argument was getting so old even Spike had begun to ignore the digs. He did, however, give Xander's hand a squeeze under the table.
Kendra blinked owlishly at the lot of them before settling in next to Giles without another word.
Later that night, Spike got Giles alone.
"Look, Rupes, I know you lot hate me, and just so's you know feeling's pretty much mutual, but I need to know you can do something for me before we do this dance." Spike looked decidedly nervous, something which both scared and intrigued the Watcher.
"What do you need me to do?" He asked cautiously.
"We're going up against two master vampires here at some point. I know I'm good, but they both got quite a few years on me, and no need to protect the puny humans. Your slayer is too hung up hoping for the souled wonder, and I'm not sure I could really hurt Dru when push comes to shove. So when things go wrong, I need you to have the stuff ready for this ritual." He handed Giles a battered old book. "Make sure you and the witchling both have the stuff handy and the instructions ready. You'll need this, too." He dropped four airline liquor bottles into the Watcher's hand. Each was filled about halfway with blood. Two had an S etched into the lid, and two had an X. "If things do go bad, perform the ritual, and break the bond so I don't drag him down with me. The timing is shite, but you might have as long as fifteen or twenty minutes to do it up right, so you have to be ready."
Giles looked from the book to the blood then back to the vampire before him, a stunned look on his face for a moment before he shook it off. "Why?"
"Why give us this, now?"
"Oye I just told you. This is starting to look like the end of the sodding world, mate. I'll do what I need to to stop that, but I won't be takin' any bloody hitchhikers with me, if I have to go. Besides it only works if one of us dies... would Xander forgive you if you killed me just to break the bond?"
"Got no use for your thanks, Watcher. Alls I need is your word that you'll do it if it needs doing, and to know if it comes to that, you lot will take care of him right. None of this poncy donut fetching, you train him up right and keep him safe, or I will find away to make the lot of you sorry, even if it's just choking you to death on my dusty remains."
"Also, remember if you try it before I kick it, you'll have three master vampires to deal with, along with a very brassed off Scooby. If something happens to Xan, don't bother with the ritual, it'll just save me a little effort." Spike finished grimly.
"Surely you don't mean, that is to say I don't think he would want..."
"What he would want won't mean fuck all if he's dead, Watcher. If he goes I go, it's that bloody simple."
They'd spent the next day researching with very limited luck. Then Angelus sent a flaming invitation which Buffy insisted on answering. Alone.
When they attacked Xander didn't know which way to run. He shoved Cordelia towards the back entrance. "Get help!" He whispered as he turned to assess the situation. A vamp flew at him knocking him into a bookcase. He managed to stake it, but felt the case coming down behind him. Spike shoved him out of the way as the case tipped precariously forward, pinning Spike between it and the rail.
He rushed back to help pry the case off Spike when he heard his Willow scream. With every ounce of strength Xander shoved at the shelves, toppling them backwards off his mate. Without pausing he rushed at the vamp who had dared to lay a hand on one of his.
Willow was down, but still breathing. Oz was guarding her so Xander turned to help the others. Two vamps grabbed Giles and ran. Spike was fighting another pair of minions, and Dru... Dru was doing something to Kendra. Xander ran towards her yelling, but was too late for the swift strike of the blade. Suddenly, Spike was there pulling Dru away halfway between fighting her and begging her to leave. Xander tried to ignore them while he worked on stopping the blood flowing down Kendra's neck.
Spike had dusted the pair of vampires and was going to go after the two who'd grabbed the watcher, but then he saw his consort flying towards his sire. He couldn't let one kill the other, so he dived forward and pulled her away from the bleeding slayer. One scent of the blood flowing down her sliced throat and Spike was hard and dropped to gameface. There was nothing in this world sweeter than slayer's blood, with the exception of Xander's, and Drusilla had been going to just let it drain away.
"Dru, luv, you have just proven to me how insane you really are. I mean you attack here of all places, then you kill a slayer and don't even bother to taste her? That's just wasteful, that is."
"It's going to burn so bad, Spike. It's going to itch and make you hurt. Your kitten will try so hard to claw it out for you, and will feel so sad because he can't. His tears will be like wine, even while he laughs he sobs, when he knows making you happy won't help. Can I taste them, Spike? Can I taste him?" Dru began swaying now, a look of longing on her human face.
"You can't touch him, Dru. I'll have to kill you if you do, and I don't want to do that." He didn't dare take his eyes off her. Instead he concentrated trying to remember everything she was saying.
"He'll claw for the clause, over and over, but shan't taste the bitter success that would set you free. He would let you go to take the burning away, such a dish he'll feed you. Oh the kitten's heart is so true it burns to look at. You both fall and never want to stop, but the men in white will want to stop you, will want to take you all to pieces and put you together like a puzzle. Such a lovely puzzle you'd make." She slipped into her true face and hissed at nothing. "The spark alone is unnatural, but what they want to do is an abomination to all things dead and undead. You mustn't let them, Spike. You mustn't, or they shall end the world." She slipped back to her human face and look almost ready to cry.
"You an' daddy got a lock on that already, don't you, Dru?" Spike asked, not fooled by her tears.
"Of course, my Spike, but we only need the key to open the lock. I have to go help daddy find his key. He'll get so frustrated unless I can show what needs to be seen." With that she turned on her heels and glided out of the library.
Spike grabbed a rag they'd been polishing sword's with just minutes ago, and pressed it up to the slit Xander had been desperately trying to hold closed. He quickly bit into his wrist while putting vampirical pressure on the cut. Xander quickly opened her mouth and helped her swallow several mouthfulls of Spike's blood. That done Spike let off the pressure and licked across her bloody throat. As the slayer blood popped and sizzled in his head, he pushed Xander towards Giles' office. "Call for help, luv. We've done all we can for her. The witchling needs help too."
It took ten minutes before they could hear the sirens. Kendra had gotten very pale during that ten minutes, but the bleeding had slowed to nearly nothing. It was almost as if the siren's signaled something in the slayer. Just as Xander recognized the waaah waaah noise, Kendra's body began convulsing. It took both Spike and Xander to hold her down, and when her body stilled, it stilled completely.
"Pet, her heart's stopped, what was that CRP stuff you did for Buffy? Do you think that would help?" Spike said, praying they could revive her before the blood he'd given her started changing her.
"CPR, and I can try." He began breathing into her mouth, then doing compressions, all the while ordering her to wake up and kick some vampire ass, and reminding her that if her watcher frowned on boys and friends, he'd be totally against dying on duty.
After a very long minute and a half, Spike pulled Xander back against him, awe evident in his eyes. "Her heart's pumping and she's breathing, Luv. You did it again."
"We told the police strangers with bumpy faces had attacked us. Before you can say 'Holy Cover-up Batman' they were giving us the good old 'Gang's on PCP' excuse." Xander told Buffy. "Willow's resting but ok, and Kendra seems to be stable, so a big yay for slayer healing. Oh and that fucking troll Snyder tried to pin it on you. Me and Spike made sure they knew you weren't even there. Spike does a mighty impressive snooty Brit guy voice when he wants, and I think TV has trained us to trust that sorta accent, cause the cops just ate it up."
"We need to get Giles back." Buffy said wiping her eyes. "Plus, I stopped at Giles's place and ran into this Whistler guy. He gave me this blessed sword thingie. I probably should have let him finish telling me about it, but he was being a big jerk."
"Well I guess we best pick up the Watcher. He might have an instruction manual somewhere."
"Yeah, we do. We had the girls put in the same room, and Oz and Cordelia are gonna watch over them. I say the rest of us cowboy up and go get Giles."
"Xander, its too dangerous-" Buffy started.
"Not so much, Buff. You're forgetting about Spike and me, now. I took a stake to the lungs a week ago, I could have gone dancing the next night. I'm coming with you. You can't fight Angelus, Dru, the minions, AND get Giles out. You need us and we are going."
"The boy's right, Slayer. He's also damned good in a fight even without the upgrades. WE are going with you. You go get the wolfling's keys; We'll need a ride if the watcher's been hurt. I need to talk to the boy's ex a minute." He spun on his heals and pulled Cordelia off to the side. Buffy and Xander looked at one another, shrugged, then went to get Oz's keys.
"Oye, princess, we need to talk. I have an important job for you." Spike said quietly, leaning close to Cordelia.
"Whatever in the world makes you think I'll be your little errand girl, Spike?" She asked, not intimidated in the least.
"Look, this is for the boy, not me. Might just keep him alive if this all goes to shite." He said earnestly. "There's a spell that can be done, if a bondmate dies, that will keep the other mate alive. The Watcher and the witchling were supposed to have the ingredients ready to do the spell if something happens to me. I know the witchling left her supplies at the library, I want you to get them, and keep your cell handy. I'll make sure the slayer knows to call you if I get dusted. If she calls, have the witchling do the spell or Xan is gonna play Juliet to my Romeo."
"Why do I always get to be the girl?" Xander asked catching the last thing Spike said when he came walking up behind Spike and hugged him from behind. "Maybe I want to be Ernie to your Bert... although all things considered, I guess I'd be the Ernie to your Count, huh?"
"Git." Spike said before turning around and kissing Xander hard. When he pulled away leaving a dazed mate he looked over his shoulder at Cordelia and nodded.
The three of them got to the mansion an hour before sunset. Spike wore the collar until they were in the long shadows of the house. Buffy and Xander stood watch as he transformed then pocketed the choker.
"Alright then, we get in, get the watcher and get right the fuck back out, yeah?" He asked.
"Unless they've figured out how to wake up Acapulco." Buffy said, determination in her voice that didn't quite make it to her eyes.
"That's Acathla, Slayer, but you're right. If they've found out how to wake him, we send the watcher out with Xan and send the fucker back to sleep permanently."
That decided they moved into the house quietly. Sniffing delicately Spike turned and headed after the scent of Giles' blood. Buffy and Xander followed weapons at the ready.
Oz reached out and took Willows hand as she called his name. "It's ok. You're ok."
Cordelia slipped into the room, smiling at the cute couple a moment before flouncing to the bed and setting the bag of spell materials in Willow's reach. "It's about time you woke up, lazybones. You got a spell to get ready, just in case."
"Huh?" Willow said looking at Cordelia owlishly.
"Buffy, Spike, and Xander went to get Giles, cause Spike's crazy ex ho took him. Spike told me to get the stuff to break the bond in case something happened to him."
Willow started looking through the bag and her eyes lit up. "I have all the stuff here to do the re-ensoulment. And there was something in this book, that might help us too." She started flipping through the pages of the book Spike had given Giles. "Here it is. This says it's a spell to merge soul and beast. That should work to keep the soul in place permanently, you know, if they're all mergy. I use the orb to call up the soul, then use the merge spell to send it to merge with Angel."
"Whatever, just be ready to do the other spell if you need to."
Oz helped Willow prepare the two spells she would be doing. After a few moments her face scrunched up as she started working over the details. Shuffling through the supplies she relaxed and continued working out the logistics. After a few moments, she pulled the table in front of her and picked up the Orb of Thessula. She could only hope
They found Giles in terrible shape. As Buffy moved in to pick him up he began insisting they weren't really there.
"Sod it all, Watcher, I know how bad Dru can fuck your mind, but you need to snap out of this. Why would you imagine the three of us? I'm sure there are better fancies in that head of yours, than the likes of us."
Mind a little clearer, Giles looked up at Spike. "You're quite right." He shook himself a little trying to clear his head, while fine tremors ran through his overwhelmed body. "Angelus knows how to wake Acathla, we must stop him." He managed before collapsing into Spike and Xander.
"Giles?" She whispered. He turned to look at her and she held up the sword Whistler had given her. "I got this blessed sword that's supposed to help. What do I do?"
"If you can't stop him, stab him with it." He said, his voice barely loud enough to hear.
Buffy kissed his forehead then turned to Xander. "Get him out safe."
"I will, Buffy."
She looked at Xander, then Spike, seriously. "You both say I can trust Spike, and well, I don't, but I trust you, Xander. So I'm going to trust you about this. Spike, I need your help, I can't stop this alone."
"I've got your back, Slayer. No need to embarrass us both with a load of sentiment, yeah?"
"Yeah." She took his hand briefly, then looked at Xander again. "Get going."
Xander took off as fast as he could towards Oz's van, Giles in tow. Buffy and Spike made their way towards Angelus and Acathla.
Five minutes later, they silently stepped into the courtyard where Angelus was preparing to suck the world into Hell. A block away, Xander had just got Giles into Oz's van when
Willow began chanting, beseeching help, supplicating the Gods. She poured several drops of blood from two of the bottles onto the orb as she began the pair of spells. After several long moments the room began to thrum with power. As it wound up to a thumping beat,
Xander made his way back to the mansion when suddenly his eyes lit up and he dropped to the ground screaming. A white light flew out of him, and towards the hospital. In less than a minute he stood up, sniffed the air growling lightly, then loped towards the mansion.
Meanwhile inside the mansion, Spike and Buffy darted forward. Spike slammed into Angelus just as he reached for the sword. Before anyone could do anything to stop him, Angelus jerked the sword from Acathla's chest and with a maniacal smirk started attacking Spike with it, taunting him with every thrust and parry. Across the room Buffy was fighting Dru and several minions. Suddenly, Spike screamed and dropped to his knees. His eyes glowed white for a moment then a wisp of white flew from him.
Angelus froze for a moment, staring at his wayward childe, but as Spike began to stir, he jumped back to into the offensive swinging the sword in a stroke meant to take off Spike's head. Instead of the expected beheading and dust, Angelus found himself with a armful of gamefaced and very pissed demon. There were no words said, no taunts or pleas, just pure animalistic snarls as Spike fought him with all he had. Unfortunately, Angelus had a hundred plus years on Spike.
Angelus used his strength to spin Spike around and pin him to the wall. He darted in for a kiss as Spike cringed away. Before he could initiate the kiss, Angelus found himself flying across the courtyard. A snarling Xander Harris flew at him, slamming him into the opposite wall.
In an animalistic and guttural voice he said only two words before he tore into Angelus. "MY mate."
Surprise was a formidable weapon and Angelus was very nearly stunned stupid. He desperately tried to wrap his brain, which was currently being banged off a wall, around the fact that this wild creature was whiny irritating Xander Harris. Maybe, just maybe, Spike wasn't quite as stupid as Angelus had thought for making this boy his consort.
Aroused despite the beating he was taking, or quite possibly because of it, Angelus re-concentrated his efforts, falling to one side and shoving Xander hard left him an opening. He took it. He slipped out of Xander's hold then spun and grabbed the boy with vampiric speed and pinned Xander to the wall. Seconds later he secured his grip and pressed his body against Xander in an obscene manner. Before he could even start to think about enjoying the situation he found himself once again flying through the air, this time thanks to Spike.
Buffy dusted one of the last minions who'd been attacking while Dru clapped, and turned to yell at Spike and Xander. "Acathla is waking up." She darted forward and slammed Dru in the head before moving towards Angelus and Spike.
The two vampires were exchanging blow after blow, each bloody and snarling. Buffy raised the sword, but didn't have an opening around Spike. Xander was coming up on the opposite side and was growling at Angelus. A lucky shot sent Spike to the ground. Buffy moved to strike at Angelus, but Drusilla slammed into her from behind. Both women hit the ground, and Buffy lost her grip of the sword.
Xander shoved Angelus towards the ever widening vortex and dived for the sword. He brought it up and lunged at Angelus, only to be expertly blocked and shoved backward by the vampire. He regained his balance and was just ready to dive toward his target one more time when suddenly
Three wisps of white darted into the hospital room. The two smaller wisps slowly melted into one similar in size to the remaining wisp. Both sank into the orb causing an intense glow as the orb began thrumming with the strain of holding two souls.
Willow chanted the final words to the ensoulment spell and as she finished the Orb of Thessula shattered. The two wisps disappeared.
Cordelia looked at her two companions, silent for just a moment, then asked, "So was that good or bad?"
Neither wolf nor witch had an answer.
Vampire and Slayer alike watched, shocked, as both Spike and Xander screamed suddenly. Each was bathed in their own personal light show as a white light merged with various colors and slowly seeped into each of them. Both had hit their knees in agony as the spell completed, but only Spike remained down. Xander lept to his feet and parried the blow as Angelus came out of his stupor and returned to the attack.
Behind Angelus, Acathla's maw was growing ever wider and suddenly Xander saw an opening in Angelus' defenses. He thrust forward with the sword, shocked when instead of simply impaling his opponent, he was stabbing Dru through the side. She had darted in front of his thrust, and now found herself skewered right along with her Sire, the sword going through her and into him. Despite the pain she must be feeling, she smiled and pulled Xander into a bloody kiss.
"Thank you, Kitten." She murmured before the vortex sucked her and Angelus in.
The vortex closed and suddenly the mansion was filled with silence. For the longest moment it held, and then there was breathing and sobs and somewhere distant, the gasp as both Buffy and Spike realized the loss of a former lover.
This actually ran a little longer than I expected, so I'll be posting an epilogue later on tonight, and a teaser from the next story (which won't be posted for awhile) in the series.