Pairing: Xander/Spike (don’t be fooled by the Willow beginning)
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Wolfram and Hart may have won the day, but the battle is just about to begin...
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don't like boys together, don't play here!
Harsh circumstances and difficult start....
She was carrying three children for ‘economic reasons’ apparently… human gestation taking so long and all. So it was three not two for a reason, “wow what a relief”… or not.
Lucid for her thirty fourth week check-up, she heard that much at least, largely because they had to give her more time to ‘come to’ before placing her in the specially designed sling for transportation up to the lab. She spent much of the trip trying to hold her own head erect enough to breathe, these days that took conscious effort.
In her first few months – well the whole of that first pregnancy really, she actually enjoyed the feel of the floor under her as they adjusted her drugs and she came to standing in a shower while a carer systematically cleaned off her ‘sustenance liquid’ before her regular trip to the experimental laboratory, but in her last trimester of a fourth pregnancy, and without any weight bearing for close to three years, she no longer had the physical strength to support her own weight. It was a fairly average human response, and was a fascinating, lucrative, ‘side study’ for the Wolfram and Hart science team working on their space station initiative.
The research team had made the mistake of ‘standing’ her neighbour some time late last year and she had watched in horror as the woman instantly collapsed, spraining both ankles, and breaking her wrist and hip as she fell. And sadly, due to trying to grab for help post fall, she rose enough on her arms to fall again, connecting with the base of a drugs cart being pushed in by a frantic orderly. With eighteen months of atrophy, she was doomed and her neck snapped upon impact. She didn’t die quite then, but Willow thought later, like Kennedy, the girl was one of the lucky ones. The human female was deemed ‘unviable’ as a subject and quickly terminated on the floor where she fell as soon as the chief researcher arrived. The ‘to be’ demon parents of her in vitro child went back on the waiting list with, of course, generous compensation.
Willow was still cognisant for her fortnightly trips to the lab, unable to speak of course, but able to listen, and, sadly, also able to see her own form.
She now reclined in a movable sling/hoist, was hosed down as usual in through the mesh, then had her legs strung up fully, ready for the ‘team’ to inspect her. But this trip she was in a different lab, and the glance into the mirrors of the teaching room caused distress, despite her ‘happy’ drugs. She had no idea!
Her hair was shaved to ‘a number two’ military length. Her face was thinner than she remembered but oh… her belly? Her belly was enormous (!) and her nipples (courtesy of daily milking no doubt) were ringed by large dark rings and seemed ridiculously distended. Her breasts were obviously bulging with milk and pendulous due to her position. And she looked absolutely debauched in the ridiculous sling. What made her cry all the harder was that whatever cocktail of chemicals and hormones they were feeding her made her nether regions loose and she now throbbed unnaturally, But worse than all that, as she looked down at the distended caricature of a pregnant human body, the young orderly began adjusting the manacles holding her ankles and wrists to the smallest fitting.
She could see clearly. Muscles were now utterly atrophied, and her skin was loose over sinew, bone, but veins stood high and proud with a cardiopulmonary network currently carrying enough blood for four.
It was a study of the macabre, and would apparently be her lot for the next… double her life until now… Was it any wonder she chose to ‘zone out’ more often than in these days.
Upon her return there were no more attempts to move in the liquid. And she wished away the new head/breathing apparatus… if only they just let her! But there had been a nasty incident two weeks previously when her face inadvertently ‘fell’ into her sustainance liquid due to a slight overdose of her relaxant drugs. Had it not been for the quick action of one of the staff who was monitoring her vital signs she would surely have been on their ‘out’ list.
Now a custom made chin piece and clear plastic jaw separator was pushed into place to ensure that her tongue would not fall back, or her head forward whenever she was in the tank. There was no shifting even her head now, so she simply kept her eyes closed whenever the three hour sentience came around.
It was one more step toward… Willow knew it was only a matter of time… She was slipping and in a way welcomed it. The scientists were kind but only as they might be to a plant or laboratory rat. And even the latter was probably treated less dismissively. So she let herself drift again.
Beethoven’s eighth was playing into her space, her babies moved a little then settled.
Lately it had been mostly classical music… that was nice… The baby cry rang out of the speaker mid adagio, her milk dropped on cue and she felt the blessed suction take away the fullness from her breasts. Unfortunately one of her three babies wriggled until its foot seemed to press directly on her bladder though the catheter extracted what liquid was excreted as a consequence, and she blessed whatever deity caused her three to shuffle internally again shortly after and a tiny foot shifted from the pressure spot.
She would have returned to drifting but that she was sure she must have been hallucinating. Behind the chief researcher, was a tall brunette with an eye patch.
Her cocktail was beginning to kick in again post milking but… she knew… she struggled, but she knew the face! And when a broad hand touched the glass of her tank then turned away to speak to the researcher, she wished he hadn’t seen, wished the chin piece would break, and wished she could simply… die.
Last correspondence Wolfram and Hart. Xander was thankful that his ‘geekdom’ now extended to computers and (with a little help from the other ‘geekies’ in the Council) serious hacking.
They didn’t touch the law firm, but were able to track down the last correspondences of his friend.
Initially Xander was a little puzzled at the Willow/W&H connection, but knew enough of the Wolfram and Hart ‘story’ to know they were bad news.
He also began to worry anew at Willow and Kennedy’s apparent lack of contact with the Council after their return to the States. The two had deliberately distanced themselves for a time… All the Hellmouth crew had… but even when they were on the road, Willow had made a point of ‘checking in’ to someone occasionally. Now, going through records, it had been nearly three years since anyone could remember a message other than an auto ‘out of the office’ response!
He had been out of any loop until last year… rural Ghana was hardly the place to do internet!
But now, if she *was* an employee, he was also puzzled by the whole idea of Willow’s choice to become part of an experimental team regards demon research… *surely* the Initiative experience was enough to put any of their old crew off that idea!
It was an innocent statement from Clem that made the phonecall the one they needed “Maybe that biological clock thing that humans seem to have is ticking… You know… two girls… well in our species it doesn’t really…” Clem trailed off… looked at his basket and sprung into action, “Geez look at the time! But just a thought… Spike always loved kids… Why don’t you ask if she can make you one or two! Hahh!” He saw Xander’s sudden look of horror then back tracked a little… “It was just a…”
Xander smiled at his temporary host, the demon who had saved a friend, and smiled, “Yeah… kinda nice but most of ‘em (if they’re human) would be home ‘til they’re forty if the stats are right!”
Clem grinned broadly, winked then saluted the new Watcher with the kitten basket as he let himself out, “So?? Everyone has one or two family demons! You guys sort it out – but make the phonecall OK… Much as I like Spike… him here? Kind of starting to cramp my style.”
All Spike could do was roll his eyes, but he managed to meet Xander’s one then blinked and swallowed painfully. The feeding tube always seemed to tear… something.
Xander didn’t even *want* to think about Clem’s last statement given that he seemed to remember shagpile carpet, large print curtains and beanbags going out in the seventies. But Xander also knew his mission. He *had* to find Willow if the vampire before him, champion many times over… was to be restored to… well he wasn’t sure… Willow was the key. So…
Two days later and with Aurelian money, a Council ‘get out of free’ card and his demon magnet signature firmly in place, he made a special purchase. Even with the W&H connections the deal was almost untraceable… if only that it was uninteresting. She was on the ‘way out’ He also Hellmouth, he rich, Watcher, wants kids, and now living with a… Pledath demon?! Even the senior partners could not deny that he might be a useful connection in the future – even if the rather ‘spent’ surrogate passed on.
And the Coven did its job. The prophesy regards Spike remained hidden, for now in the Deeper Well, it’s new protector… Rupert Giles.
Half a million dollars was apparently a reasonable going price for three human children and the rather waning form of a surrogate. In truth, the research team were rather thrilled that the mystery purchaser was so keen on the witch. Their ‘prospective parents’ had started to lean toward other species and of late the subject had been so unresponsive they had worried, changed her music several times and varied her drugs, but ending up back at the ‘default’, just hopeful that she would not ‘break’ completely. The mothers that broke really were only good for milking they had found… for some reason the children produced of ‘permanently baffled’ humans proved… limited.
The day he unexpectedly located… and bought… his friend, or the shell of her, Xander had also been forced to purchase invalid ‘help’ equipment, hire a mini van to transport her, and was advised to engage a nurse ‘to ensure the safe delivery of your goods’.
It had been an amazing seventy two hours, and Xander had his head in his hands as Clem came in whistling with a full basket of twelve pretty felines. He smiled and patted his friend, regaled him with stories of the five poker rounds that had produced such riches, then stopped for long enough.
There were two people in the bed, one dead and one a very pregnant human, and Xander had resigned from the Council.
Both Spike and Willow felt the other. He registered her renewed magical signature, her extreme emaciation, her warmth and the wriggling forms within her belly contacted his side. And strangely wished he could say something, but gave in to the genuine pleasure of an overtired Xander lifting him into a warm bath, and holding him reassuring all the time that ‘Willow will fix you… You’ll be much better soon.”
He had his doubts, but gave in to the lovely sensation of being washed, dried, fed via tube (OK that bit not so good) then settled next to a body that pulsed with such life that his demon strained to rise.