Title: The Red Curse
Pairing(s): Various/Spike, Fred/Wesley, others as story develops
Rating/Warnings: NC-17 (Non-con/Rape, BDSM, torture, violence, language) Previous Parts
A/N: Another short one, the second half of chapter 26. I can't promise when the next chapter will be posted – it will likely be next weekend if this week is anything like the last!
And, of course, on that note... warning that there may be another annoying cliffhanger here...
Spike carefully rose from the bed. “How long were we out?” he whispered, his eyes locked onto the sleeping couple. Buffy's head was nestled against Angel's neck. She'd nestled against Spike just like that, he remembered, on that night long ago.
“Uh, it's almost noon.” He could hear the wince in Willow's voice. “Buffy must have called him. To help, I mean, not to–”
“S'fine,” Spike said. What would his old self had felt at this scene? Jealousy, certainly, along with a heaping dose of rage, mostly aimed at his grandsire. And a fair amount for himself.
But he didn't feel any of those things. He'd long known any chance of him and Buffy had splintered and floated away, like dried grass on a breeze. What he did feel was anxious and uncertain. An instinctual desire to flee had all but eradicated his earlier feelings of relief.
He cast a rueful glance at the drawn curtains, and the daylight creeping in at the edges. The sun wouldn't kill him, but the burning agony would stop him.
“Hungry?” Willow suddenly asked. “I stopped at the butcher's. There's some yummy pig's blood in the fridge for you if you want it.”
Spike felt a roaring pain in his legs, a hollow ache in his belly, and tight bands crushing his wrists. He swallowed heavily and tried to flatten his hands to stave off the shaking. “Not hungry.”
Willow frowned in disbelief.
Spike sighed. “Look, Red, appreciate the help and all, but due to this lovely curse, feeding time for me tends to be a bit... complicated. Don't want to wake the love birds.”
“Ok, that's no problem. I cast a simple sound block as soon as you got off the bed.” At his glance, Willow shrugged. “Buffy hasn't slept in three days. You're not the only one who's been dealing with issues of the crazy evil. The truth is, we were kind of heading this way already before Riley called.”
“Just the two of you?” Spike asked, with more than a bit of desperate hope.
As if on cue, a cheery musical ditty came from Willow's pocket. She pulled free a phone, and rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Hang on, I need to take this.” She waved her hand, and though her lips began to move, Spike could hear no sound.
Spike couldn't bear to bring his eyes back to Angel and Buffy. Surrounded by three people in a single room, and he felt adrift. Alone.
The curse brushed over the back of his head, sending him into the tailspin of another memory. He felt rope about his wrists and thick cloth twisted into his mouth, his body sore and bruised. The sharp edges of a wooden foot-board dug into his shoulder blades. He tasted blood from his own split lip.
Angelus cupped his hand against the back of his head, smirking as Spike strained to pull free, shouting insults through the gag.
“The ladies and I are in need of some quiet time, William. You'd best stay put.”
He could hear the creak of the bed as Angelus climbed over him. Then, there was more creaking, and giggling, and moaning, the scent of sex filling the air – while Spike sat, hard and miserable, tears pricking his eyes.
The hotel room faded back into existence. Spike shuddered, and found himself on hands and knees.
Willow was peering at him. “Are you back?”
Spike flinched, and couldn't quite suppress the irritated glance as he pushed himself to his feet. “Done with your phone call, are you?”
“Yeah. Faith was just checking in.” She stared at him, her eyes serious. “We're gonna need you on this one, Spike.”
He felt the hairs on the back of his neck prickle at her tone. “Not planning on being anywhere else.”
Willow's lips tightened. “I'm serious. There's some powerful stuff happening inside your body, and we need to figure out exactly what. I'll find out how to get Glory out, but we need you to stick around after it's over.”
Spike ground out again, his words measured, “Not planning on being anywhere else.”
“Good. Because it's not noon,” she revealed. “It's not actually day at all. I was in your head for almost 20 hours.”
Spike scowled, and turned his eyes to the window. The sunlight that had previously peeked in at the edges was gone. In disbelief, he strode across the room and pulled the curtain aside, and saw twinkling lights crossing towards the horizon against the backdrop of night sky.
That explained why he felt so well rested.
“Still gonna stay?” Willow asked.
“Yeah.” He looked at Willow, uneasy with how well she'd reminded him of her power. “Though, you yanking me about with magic isn't exactly reassuring.”
Willow wasn't apologetic. She approached him, her eyes drawn to his neck. He stepped back, warily, until his back made contact with the wall. Had her eyes grown darker, or was that just a trick of the light?
“I'm not trying to scare you,” she said. Her hand came forward, her fingers against the side of his neck. “It's just that magic... well, it did most of this stuff to you, and it's going to take a lot of magic to bring things back to normal.”
There was a click, and then a tightness that Spike had grown accustomed to, was suddenly gone. Willow brought her hand back, a band of white gold clutched between her fingers.
Spike rubbed at his neck, relieved when she finally stepped back. “Thanks.”
Willow twirled the collar. “So... you ready to eat?”
Before Spike could respond, there was a great cracking noise and the door to the hotel room fragmented inwards. Illyria was on the other side, her icy eyes angry.
Willow brought her hand out and bolts of lightning burst free, but Illyria was gone before the attack could make contact. She appeared again, in front of Spike, her hands gripping into his jacket.
She released him a moment later, staggered by a blow. Willow's hair was rising about her face, her expression twisted in anger. Buffy and Angel were still asleep, the mystical sound barrier making them oblivious to the goings-on around the bed.
“A human shaman,” Illyria hissed.
Willow tilted her head and scowled in offense. “Not... technically.”
A flick of the witch's pale hands and another burst of lightning surged at Illyria. This time, the demon king just took it, absorbing the shock into her armor with a slight jerk, and not a scorch mark to be found in its aftermath.
“You delay his healing,” Illyria stated, a hand pointed at Spike.
“No,” Spike growled. “Blue, listen – she's trying to help.”
She turned on him, and there was something wild in her eyes. “It is too slow. You must be set on the right path.”
Before he could protest, the world had fallen away and reformed into walls of stone. He was in the dungeons of the mansion, in a locked cell. Illyria glared at him for a few moments more, before she shoved him against the wall and clamped his wrists into hanging manacles.
But she was gone, through another one of her blasted portals. Spike tugged viciously at the manacles and then slumped in exasperation. The chains would not allow him to sit or move from the wall, so he took a deep breath and called for help. He knew it would be of no use – the dungeon walls were soundproofed, and none of them had come down here since their first look around upon moving in.
Thankfully, it wasn't long before a portal reappeared in front of him. Illyria stepped through, and Spike's anger stoked into a full flame.
“You'd better bloody get me out of these right now, or so help me I'll forget about the sodding end of the world and spend the next eternity pounding your primordial arse.”
Illyria's hand, which had not yet come through the portal, suddenly swung forward. A body collapsed at Spike's feet. For a moment, his mind did not properly process what he was seeing. Illyria looked out of control, her movements too erratic. She grabbed the limp – breathing
– body, and moved it near him. Spike jerked to the side, as far as his chains would allow.
Illyria grabbed at his face, and forced his terrified eyes on her. “You wish to heal, to lead. There is not time for these things. Months of recovery, possibly years, would be required for you to become suitable. But the shaman woman was right, it will take magic to undo what was done.”
Spike grasped at the chains with his hands, his legs going weak as memories assaulted him. “Please, Illyria,” he choked out.
At his pleading whimper, something in her eyes seemed to soften, become unsure.
He grasped onto her expression, remembering what Lorne had said about Fred still being alive. “You can see her memories. This is bloody insane. It won't work! I can't save the world like this.”
Illyria released him, her eyes hard again. “He will find a way to remove the parasite in your mind. And you will find your solace, though it will not be through me.”
She opened another portal, and was gone.
Another whimper exploded from Spike's lips and he jerked at his chains, his eyes directed to the stone ceiling. “Fuck!”
The body at his feet began to move, and Spike became deathly still, as if that would delay the inevitable. The memories were flitting through his mind like a plague of locusts, each vying for his attention to the suffering they caused. A scream began to build in his throat as the Red Curse performed a symphony of attacks in quick succession, separate pains blending into each other until it was one drawn out, never ending agony.
And then Ambrus Drake raised his eyes, and the scream broke free.