Warnings: HAU, M/M sex, rape, violence, vague non graphic mentions of het sex, swearing, angst, harsh themes, mild Sub/Dom. OOC, varying chapter lengths, Unbeta'd, blatant use of movie dialogue.
Rating: NC17 Throughout
Pairing: 100% S/X
Comments: Comment if you want to, though it would be nice to know someone is reading it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, everything belongs to someone who is not me. I write for fun not profit.
Note1: This is Europe in 1501. Times and people were harsh. Life was cheap and plague rife. This is not a cuddly story and Spike is not a cuddly character. Some might find his treatment of Xander, questionable.
Note 2: My heartfelt thanks go out to my dear friend Bmblbee, for holding my hand through the writing and posting process. *Hugs*
Note 3: This is a plot driven story. What sex there is happens in the natural course of the plot and as part of Spike and Xander's relationship.
Note 4: This is a human/medieval Spike and Xander expect them to behave as such.
Summary: When Prince Rupert is usurped and ousted from his city, he lays siege. He decides to use a group of wandering mercenaries led by the charismatic but dangerous Spike to supplement his army. When he goes back on his word to allow the mercenaries 24 hours free hand to loot the City unopposed, Spike plots revenge. Unfortunately it is Rupert's 18 year old, scholarly son Xander who must pay the price.
Chapter 17/26 + Epilogue
Chapter: 17/26 + Epilogue
Rating NC17 Throughout
A/N: This is Bubonic Plague, transimission was primarily through flea and rat bite, dogs and cats got it too. Person to person transmission was quite difficult and involved sharing of food, water and long term, close person to person contact. There were three distinct types of plague, this was the least virulent and survival rate was 40%. Septicemic and Pneumonic plague were more virulent, almost always fatal and Pneumonic was spread person to person. They made no distinction as to type and all were simply called 'plague' with associated terror.
Father Daniel gingerly carried the bowl of contaminated blood outside and poured it out to pool on the rocky ground. A stray dog that had been following them and was fed scraps by some of the soldiers, sniffed at the blood and began to lap at it. Lieutenant Graham saw it and shouted. "Get away from there you stupid hound, it's poisoned!" When the dog took no notice he hurled a small stone at it. "Be off with you!" The dog yelped and padded reluctantly away.
The news of Angelus's condition spread like a raging fire amongst the soldiers unsettling them; Angelus was a large, strong man and in prior good health that it struck him down so quickly was not lost on the nervous soldiers. Most were younger men with families and they were afraid of catching it themselves, or of taking it to their loved ones. Lieutenant Graham was untried and untested as a leader in battle and the thought of his taking over from the dying Angelus and leading them against the mercenaries was not an inspiring thought. As for The Prince, they had recently fought a long campaign for him, they were tired, he did little to inspire confidence or loyalty and would never pay the ransom, if he didn't care about the young Prince, why should they? Whispers spread of leaving, going home.
Rupert sat in his tent contemplating his next move. Angelus dying was very inconvenient to say the least. There was no way he could continue the bluff over the ransom now, Graham simply couldn't be relied on to engage the castle or pursue and destroy Spike and his filthy scum if they were allowed to escape. Nevertheless it was not a hopeless situation. Spike was trapped, he couldn't leave the castle and he reasoned that he couldn't kill Xander or he'd have nothing to bargain with. Of course there was the possibility he might torture Xander, but the boy was strong, he'd get over it. The best move was to simply do nothing, wait and starve them out into the open, much depended on the supplies the castle held and how long he and Spike could play the waiting game. As for his soldiers, they believed the wagon truly held ransom, only himself, Angelus and Father Daniel knew the truth, he would simply say he was waiting to see how things went with the Captain before making a decision, if any dared question him.
Graham hovered unhappily by the tend flap. "M'Lord, don't you think it best we pay the ransom as the Captain suggested? I fought along side Spike, he's tough and ruthless but I think he'd keep his word and let the young Prince go."
Rupert glared at the young man. "He already has a fortune in gifts I was sending to Hoffran, I simply refuse to give the scum more! We have them trapped, they can't leave the castle, they can't kill Xander because that would leave them with nothing to bargain with. We will see how things fare with the poor Captain before we make any decisions." He reasoned.
Graham's brow furrowed. "But Sir the young Prince, the longer they have him the more likely they might torture him."
Rupert shuffled uncomfortably. "You heard my offer Lieutenant, I was most generous, hand over Xander unharmed and they can keep what they've got." He said reasonably. "Everyone tells me Spike's not stupid, given time he'll realize it's the best he's going to get."
The Lieutenant tensed. "If he believes you will keep your word. Forgive me M'Lord, going on your past dealings with him he might decide it best to hold out or make a fight of it."
Rupert scowled and snorted.
Xander lay naked on the bed, resting on his side. Spike was spooned in behind him an arm thrown carelessly around Xander's waist, sound asleep. Xander couldn't sleep, his mind raced. If his father paid the ransom, which seemed highly unlikely, Spike would hand him over. If he didn't pay they were trapped, what would Spike do then? Or more importantly, what would the others do and would Spike stand in their way? Spike had already told him that there was no way he could stay with him, ending bluntly that he didn't want him, didn't want a useless, spoiled boy hanging round his neck, Spike didn't really care about him and probably never would, he was a toy something for Spike to amuse himself with, something to bargain with, a means to an end, nothing more.
Spike muttered and rolled onto his back, his arm slipping from around Xander's waist. Carefully he sat up and swung his legs out of the bed, he hesitated glancing behind him at the sleeping blond, before standing and padding to the window. He looked out and shivered. In the far distance he could see the lights of several small campfires, he didn't know Spike was behind him till the robe was placed around his shoulders, he jumped.
Spike slipped his arms round his waist and pulled him back against his naked body. "You'll catch cold." He said quietly. Xander gave a small snort. "Would you care?" Spike rolled his eyes and grunted. "Why did you get out of bed?"
"I couldn't sleep." Xander replied. Spike nuzzled his neck. "Soon tire you out." Xander squirmed and nodded at the window. "He won't pay you know, he'll stay out there, he'll never give up."
Spike shrugged. "Neither will I."
Xander frowned. "Does the ransom mean that much to you?"
Spike released him. "Not really, there's more than enough money in my share of the loot we've got already for what I want." Xander turned. "Then why? You don't want me, you've said as much, why not accept his offer? Give me up and we'll leave you in peace."
Spike gave a barking laugh. "Do you really think I'd take that bastard's word for anything?" He shook his head. "You're all we've got to bargain with. I don't think he'll risk you being hurt, besides I want to squeeze him by the balls till he screams."
It was Xander's turn to give a hollow laugh. "You really don't know my father very well."
The silence of the camp was only broken by the groans and incoherent mutters and shouts of the delirious Angelus. Father Daniel was confident he'd done all he could, now he would simply wait for the Captain to die and give him a Christian burial. The moon was high as silently the soldiers crept to where their horses were picketed some distance from the tents and led them away. Once they were far enough, they mounted and rode quickly for home.
In his tent Angelus had a rare moment of clarity and then wished he hadn't as he clenched his teeth against the agonizing pain in his gut. He was running a fever yet he shivered and his teeth chattered. Hard, painful, burning lumps full of pus throbbed and pulsed on his neck, under each arm and on his inner thighs., Father Daniel's sharp knife lay on the table where he'd left it next to the bleeding bowl. Angelus winced and moaned in pain as he reached for it with a trembling hand, his fingers curled round the handle and he laid the blade against a lump on his neck. He grasped the bed with his free hand and despite gritting his teeth, his face contorted in pain and he gave an agonized, choked scream as he cut into the swelling and pus oozed out.