One week later,
Angelus looked up from his book as he heard the words. He'd half-hoped Darla had forgotten about her demand that Will be punished when they got to Paris. But apparently that hadn't been the case.
"Darla, he hasn't done--"
"Finish that sentence and I'll have YOU chained and beaten, too," Darla growled. "Seriously, Angelus, he hasn't *done* anything??? Are you suffering memory loss?!"
He winced at her angry tone but was determined to state his opinion on the matter. "He's behaved and I.. I just think that maybe he's learned his lesson, Love. Sometimes the threat of punishment is enough to put fear into young fledgelings."
She laughed. "Empty threats are hardly enough to keep childer under control," she sneered as she got to her feet. "Especially where that brat is concerned. He's spoiled enough as it is, and I want to see him broken of his stubborn attitude, NOW.
"And if you won't do it, I will," she added.
*Damn it. Why can't she try things my way, for once?* Angelus wondered. "I'll do it," he sighed. "I'll go get him."
"I'll be waiting downstairs," she replied as she walked out. He wasn't happy about this development. With Darla overseeing his punishment of William, it would ensure that it went further than he had intended. But he also knew he had no say in that matter. As his sire, she had the right to order him to do anything she wished, and as her childe, he had no other option but to obey her.
It was just like Darla to do this, though. She had waited until things had settled down, before she decided to strike. Will *had* been behaving, as far as Angelus could tell. The boy was civil and obedient at home, he hadn't showed any of the earlier rebellious nature that had gotten them into trouble. And Angelus *didn't* think it would be helpful to punish Will now, especially not with Darla looking on. This would most likely just make William rebel later.
To say that Angelus wasn't looking forward to the next few hours would be an understatement.
Spike and Dru returned from the hunt and sneaked upstairs, without alerting the older vampires to their presence. Spike had remained as inconspicuous as possible for the last week, not wanting to remind Angelus of his threat uttered that night in Yorkshire.
True, his sire had been furious, but Spike didn't kid himself that the promised beating had been just an idle threat. Angelus didn't *make* idle threats. The older vampire always meant everything he said.
So he knew that his only hope in avoiding that beating was to prove to Angelus he *was* sorry for the trouble he'd caused. The best way to do that was not to bring more trouble upon them. And he'd managed that, for a week. He still hunted with the railroad spike, he had no intention of giving that up. But he did his hunting more carefully, preventing the possibility of being discovered during the kill.
"The moon bleeds," Drusilla stated, gazing out the window of their bedroom.
*Oh, just bloody wonderful,* Spike thought. *I'm tired enough, without another vision to tend to.*
"NOOOOO!" she shrieked, grabbing her head. He ran to her and caught her as she fell. ""BLOOD EVERYWHERE! THE PRINCE SCREAMS SO LOUD THE STARS CRY!"
"Dru, luv, calm down," Spike tried to soothe her. "Talk to me and tell me what's wrong." He walked her over to the bed and sat down with her.
"You have to leave, William! GO AWAY!" She screamed started to rock back and forth getting more agitated by the moment. "Blood covering the floor, all around. The queen laughs, she tears and rips and breaks and cuts the prince and he bleeds! SO MUCH BLOOD!!!!" She shoved at him, but he wouldn't let her go.
"DRUSILLA STOP IT NOW!"
Both vampires froze and looked toward the doorway, where Angelus was standing. And as Spike looked at Angelus' face, everything Dru had been ranting about clicked into place. Angelus was here because he'd decided to follow through with his threat to punish him. And Drusilla had seen it.
He was determined not to show fear, however. He'd been punished before by Angelus. He'd survived it then and he'd survive it now.
Drusilla broke free of his grip and rushed over to their sire, before he could stop her.
"Stop being so melodramatic," Angelus growled, refusing to listen to her words. He grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet. "Go to your room and stay there until I say you can come out."
"Not one more WORD, DRUSILLA!" he interrupted, shaking her roughly. "GO!" She whimpered and nodded, and when he released her she stumbled away, sobbing.
He looked over at Will, but hadn't needed to see the expression in his boy's eyes to know Will was afraid. This was the last thing he'd needed, Dru's visions setting the boy on edge about what was going to happen. That made it far less likely that he would give in to Darla's demands easily.
He could almost taste the fear as he approached, and he hated it. *I don't want this either, Will* he thought, but pushed that thought away as quickly as it had come. Darla was right. This was necessary, to ensure his boy's obedience in the future.
"Come with me," he ordered. "Darla's waiting." He turned and headed out the door.
Angelus refused to be affected by the fear in his childe's voice. *It's all a ruse, he's trying to make me more sympathetic toward him* he decided. He turned back to Will. "What?!" he growled.
"Does she..." Spike hesitated, wanting to word his question right. No need to give his sire more to punish him for. Drusilla's words were still echoing in his head, and if Darla was going to be there for the punishment, there was almost no chance that it would be over any time soon. "Does ...she ... have to be there?" he asked.
*I wish she didn't,* Angelus thought. "Darla is the head of this family, William. She goes where she wishes and does as she wishes. Now come on. Keeping her waiting will only make things worse." He turned and walked down the hallway, sensing his childe following close behind.
They went down the stairs and then through the living area to the second set of stairs leading to the basement. Neither man said a word until they reached the basement, where Darla was.
Angelus felt the fear from his boy intensifying, and wished he could make it stop. One look at Darla told him she was having the exact opposite response, however. That, and the grin on her face. Well, on the bright side, she was aware of Will's fear of her. That had to satisfy her somewhat.
Spike looked around the basement, reluctantly. He was aware that the basements of every house belonging to Angelus and Darla were similar, but he'd never had the pleasure of seeing one, until now.
In the center of the room, a set of chains hung from the ceiling, with shackles attached to each. Below them, were another set of shackles, attached to hooks on the floor. Across from him against the wall, hung whips of various sizes and designs. Below them on a table were an assortment of knives, as well as other things he didn't know the uses of.
He had the strangest feeling he was about to find out, however.
"Take off your clothes."
Spike looked at Angelus, in response to the order. The older vampire didn't seem angry with him, but neither did he appear to be in a good mood. And Darla... she was smiling happily. Spike knew why, too: she was finally getting what she wanted.
"Did I stutter?" Angelus growled as he approached Will. "Take off your clothes, NOW."
Spike winced and obeyed. Perhaps, if he just cooperated, they could get this over with quickly. Besides, if his sire was the one doing the punishment, it wouldn't be all *that* bad. Angelus had never *truly* hurt him, beyond what he could take, anyway.
Angelus was relieved when the boy obeyed him. If he just retained that willing attitude, then they wouldn't have to be here for very long. "Good. Now come here," he said, walking over to the shackles. He was pleased when Will moved to stand in front of him, remembering to keep his head bowed in an attitude of submission.
He started to kneel down to secure the boy's ankles in the shackles attached to the floor, but Darla stopped him. "No, Angelus." In response to his questioning look, she said, "William got himself into this situation."
Angelus knew what she was saying, and knew Will wouldn't like it one bit. He was too proud to actively take a part in his own punishment. The boy probably didn't even think he deserved it. He just hoped Will would obey, nevertheless. "Yes, Love," he said to Darla. He turned back to Will and said, "Fasten the shackles around your ankles and then around one of your wrists."
Spike couldn't believe his ears, and he stared at Angelus in shock. It was bad enough that he'd been expected to come willingly to the basement for punishment. Now, Angelus wanted him to be the one to restrain himself, basically offering himself up to the older vampire for whatever pain he had in mind? There was *no* way that would happen.
Angelus sighed. He had expected this. "You were already going to receive a hundred lashes of the whip, Boy. You've just made it two hundred, by not obeying me immediately."
"Five hundred," Darla said.
Angelus looked at her and opened his mouth to protest, but thought better of it when he saw the determined look on her face. "Five hundred," he agreed. He looked back at William. "Do you wish to make it even more?" he asked.
He watched his boy, shaking with either fear or anger (or a mixture of both) crouch down and fastened the shackles around his ankles. It wasn't an easy task, as the shackles were spread far enough apart that the one in them had his or her legs spread too far apart for it to be completely comfortable. He did manage it, however, and then stood. Still not looking at Angelus, he fastened his left wrist into a shackle as well.
Spike was more angry than afraid by this point. At least that was what he kept telling himself. The two older vampires seemed determined to humiliate him as well as punish him.
They could try, but they wouldn't succeed. He *wouldn't* be broken that easily.
It was against his nature, but he chose not to fight Angelus when his right arm was lifted and that wrist was also secured. He guessed that he'd need his energy for other things, soon, so he wouldn't expend it now on useless fights.
"Such a pretty picture he makes already," Darla said as she walked around him slowly. "All trussed up, completely at your mercy. That's the role he is *meant* to fulfill," she added, looking at Angelus pointedly. "A lesson he hasn't quite learned yet."
"He will," Angelus replied.
"Yes," Darla nodded, walking up to him with a cat 'o nine tails. "We'll see to that," she added, handing it to him. "Go on," she said. "I'd like to get this over with before sundown, if possible."
Spike bit his lip to keep from screaming as the cat o' nine tails hit the backs of his thighs yet again. He was bleeding, and had beeen since the first blow. He had wounds covering every inch of his back, buttocks, legs, shoulders, and the entire front of his torso. But through it all, he hadn't made a noise in response, other than at the end, a relieved grunt of "Five hundred."
Angelus stepped back to survey the damage. Cuts from the whip covered his boy's entire body. Yet Will had remained silent, other than counting as demanded of him. He was impressed with his childe's self-control.
"Do you have anything to say for yourself, now?" he asked.
Spike shook his head and sighed. "Already told ya I was sorry for getting us run out of those towns," he said.
"There is something else you need to promise me," Angelus said. "Something I've requested of you several times, to no avail. Have you forgotten?"
"Of course not," Spike replied. "But I don't see the harm in my using the railroad spike, Sire. I'm being careful now--"
Darla growled and approached him. "This isn't about YOU!" she screamed. "Even though you *are* a laughing stock among other demons, I don't care about your reputation. I *DO* however care about what a joke you've turned the Clan Aurelius into. Do you *know* what they say about us, William? 'We've lost the art of the hunt. We've turned into simple, unimaginative killers, nothing better than the humans who participate in the kill for the thrill of the adrenaline rush. And we've even resorted to the tools of those humans, since we cannot come up with any more ingenious way to hunt.'"
"It's not about bloody art, Darla," Spike retorted. "It's about having a good time."
She growled and slapped his face, cutting his cheek. "How dare you speak to me so disrespectfully. And for the record, *Will*" she sneered as she used Angelus' nickname for him, "You can have a good time without being crude and reckless.
"The clan of Aurelius is the most respected vampire clan in the world, or we were until *you* came along. We hunted with originality, pure cunning, leaving no evidence of the means of death. We kept the dim-witted humans from even knowing we exist.
"And then you showed up, with your silly blue eyes and melancholy nature, and caught Angelus' fancy. And I was willing to allow your presence in our family, until you started showing how completely unworthy you are. You have no appreciation for a well-planned, unique kill. And, if you don't have the aptitude to hunt more uniquely than splattering blood everywhere and leading those who want to hunt you down after back to US, then you shouldn't be part of this clan. And you *definitely* don't deserve to carry the title of Angelus' childe."
"Do NOT defend him, Angelus," she snarled, turning to face her own childe. "He's been your childe for six months, yet you haven't rid him of this stubborn nature yet," she added. She walked to the table and returned, as she said, "I've had enough of it. It's time to break him, now."
Angelus looked down and saw the item Darla was holding out to him. It was another whip, but this one had pieces of glass with ragged edges embedded into it. "Darla, there are other--
"Would you rather *I* did it?" she asked with a sneer.
"No," he said. "I will," he said, hoping he sounded more enthusiastic than he felt.
He swung the whip, and it made contact with Will's back, the pieces of glass digging into it and lodging there. The boy did little more than grunt when Angelus pulled it free, taking small bits of skin with it.
"ENOUGH!" Darla growled. "That was pathetic. Your heart is clearly not in this and I'm disgusted with you," she added as she walked over to Angelus. "Give it to me," she ordered.
"DO IT NOW!" She screamed. "And don't anger me any further, *Boy.* Go sit in that chair," she pointed to a chair against the far wall, where he'd have a clear view of William's suffering. "You will watch every second of this, or I'll make him suffer for *your* disobedience."
Angelus did as ordered, regretting the fact that he'd just left Will to Darla's mercy - rather, lack of it. However, he was also relieved. At least he wouldn't be the one performing the punishment.
Spike wanted to scream in protest, when Darla took the whip from Angelus' hands. His sire had actually been lighter on him than he'd expected. But now he had no hope of anything but excruciating pain.
He *did* scream when the whip made contact with his thighs, hitting and digging in with more force than he would have imagined from a woman. He'd forgotten how damn strong she was. He screamed again when he felt the glass pieces yanked free, taking his skin as well as some muscle tissue along with it. Too proud to beg verbally for this to stop however, he simply looked to Angelus, begging with his eyes.
Angelus met his boy's eyes, unwillingly. He saw the pleading in them, and winced when his childe screamed again. He simply shook his head in response. He couldn't stop this.
No matter how much he wanted to.
Darla was giddy with happiness, having never enjoyed herself more in her entire existence. She reveled in the sounds of young William's screams as she whipped him mercilessly, and she made sure that Angelus watched everything, as she had demanded. She paused for a second, to admire her handiwork. The once-flawless body of the young vampire was now torn and bloody. She'd never seen anything more delicious.
"Well, William?" she asked. "Are you ready to obey me yet?"
He looked up at her, rebellion in his eyes. "You don't own me," he growled.
She laughed. "Oh, but I do," she said with a smile. "Angelus is mine, and as his childe, you are also mine. You're only still around because of my willingness to let you survive. If I wanted you dusted, it would happen." She caught his look of disbelief and added, "What. You think Angelus would protect you if I didn't want him to?" she wondered.
Spike looked over at Angelus. He didn't seem to be enjoying watching this very much. In fact, when he looked in the older vampire eyes, he saw sadness there. And why not? Angelus *was* his sire. He'd promised Spike once that he would protect him forever.
"Oh, you delusional boy," Darla smiled, stepping into his line of sight. "You actually care about him. That's it, isn't it? You're in love with him!" She laughed, knowing this would be information she could use to her benefit, in breaking him more easily.
Spike didn't want her to know she'd come closer to the truth than he was ready to admit to even himself. "He's my sire. I respect him," he replied slowly.
Darla laughed. "I'll let you in on a little secret, *Will*. You're a terrible liar. And another one: the feeling isn't mutual. Angelus' childer are nothing but toys to him. You're here for his amusement and pleasure alone."
Again she saw the disbelief in the blue eyes.
"You think I'm wrong? Well then, I'll prove it to you," she said.
Darla moved behind Spike and he waited, tensely. What was she going to prove to him... that Angelus wouldn't protect him? Spike didn't think she *could* prove that. After all, Angelus had saved him twice. Why wouldn't he do it again?
Finally, she returned to stand in front of him. "If it's what I want, Angelus will let *anything* happen to you, William." She shoved a wooden stake into his chest and he screamed, louder than he had before. It hurt like nothing else he'd ever felt. And he expected it to be the last thing he felt... but he soon realized he *wasn't* a pile of ashes. She hadn't hit his heart. But it was an unbelievable pain, the wound felt literally on fire. And he couldn't stop screaming.
Angelus watched in complete disbelief as Darla pushed the stake into his childe's chest. It was a dream. It wasn't real. This was all juist a nightmare, and he'd wake up any minute now. He moved to stop her anyway, but not soon enough. And for a moment he expected Will to crumble to dust.
But he didn't. He slumped back into his chair his chair when he realized that William hadn't been destroyed. And he knew he'd never have forgiven himself if Darla actually *had* destroyed him.
Whether or not she'd intended to destroy him, however, the damage she'd wished to inflict had been done. Angelus understood this when he looked into the blue eyes of his childe, eyes that screamed betrayal, shock, disbelief, and most of all distrust.
Will now believed that Angelus would never protect him from Darla, if she wished to destroy him. And there was no way Angelus could argue with him. After all, he hadn't even moved a muscle to stop her.
"Burns, doesn't it?" Darla said very matter-of-factly. She held up her hands, which were encased in heavy gloves. "It's been soaking in holy water. I've found it a particularly useful implement in inflicting pain."
She pulled the stake out of his chest then, watching the blood pour out of the wound. "I could drain you dry, you know," she said, meeting his eyes. "It's a most unpleasant thing, I've been told. You wouldn't die, but you'd be too weak to even move.
"However, I'm nothing if not fair-minded, so I'll give you another chance before it comes to that," she added. "Do you have something to promise us?"
"Never," Spike gasped.
Darla glanced over at Angelus and saw the pain in his eyes. And he was too far removed from the punishment now. She didn't want him - or William, for that matter - seeing it as something *she* had done to William without Angelus' participation.
No, William had to see Angelus as someone to fear and hate as well.
She threw the gloves to the floor and stepped closer to the boy. "I know what you're thinking, William. Angelus would never do such things to you, even if he would let them be done. He's far too attached to you to actually do anything to cause you *real* pain." She rolled her eyes and took his already semi-hard member in his hands, stroking him to full erection. He struggled and tried to pull free, but she simply squeezed him harder. "Does he touch you like this?" she asked. "No need to answer; I know he does. He's generous with providing sexual pleasure - too generous when it comes to his childer. It makes them forget their place. Does it make you forget your place, *Will?*
"Go... to... hell," he growled.
"There's my answer," she replied with a sigh. "He dotes on you far too much. Yes, I know he's taken you roughly in the past, but even then your screams have sounded like they were more due to pleasure than pain."
She released him and walked away, much to his relief. When she returned, she fastened a strip of leather around the base of his cock and balls, tightening it painfully. When he cried out, she pulled it even tighter. "A sire is not supposed to give childer that much pleasure," she said with a frown. "All childer should be well aware of the fact that their pleasure is secondary to that of their sire. They are not to *expect* pleasure in return.
"I'm going to see to it that you understand this," she added, stepping back. She turned to look at Angelus. The displeasure in his eyes made it clear that he knew what she expected of him, but she said it anyway. For William's benefit. "Remove your clothes, and then take him. Make him hate every moment of it."
Angelus felt sick to his stomach, but moved to obey his sire.
Spike held back the tears, somehow, in response to the pain and the betrayal he was feeling. He'd been raped for hours by Angelus, and Spike wondered if the time would come when it wouldn't hurt anymore, when he'd just stop feeling. But it didn't seem likely, and he couldn't hold in the scream in response as Angelus entered him over and over again, tearing his inner walls one more time. He tried to hold back his screams; he didn't want to give Angelus *or* Darla the pleasure of hearing how much pain was being inflicted. But each time, his sire was fast and brutal in his thrusts into Spike's body, never trying to make it pleasurable like he'd done in the past. And when he found release, he pulled out without a word, and waited for Darla's next order.
And after each rape, Darla had continued with *her* torment. She alternated betweewn knives, whips and holy water, all used with enormous skill.
Spike was beginning to see her point about the 'art' of it all.
And then after a couple of hours of that, she'd turn to Angelus and utter one word. "Again."
And so the cycle would start all over. And she seemed to know that the bleeding made the rape more bearable, so she allowed time for him to heal a little, and stop bleeding. She obviously wanted to ensure that Angelus would inflict the maximum amount of pain on him.
The worst part of it all was the fact that he was still hard, as if he were enjoying it. That wasn't the case, though. It was merely the strip of leather around his cock that maintained his erection. He knew that.
It didn't make it any easier to bear, however.
He sighed with relief when Angelus came yet again. *That's the tenth time* his brain informed him. He didn't want to know that, though. He wanted desperately to wake up from the horrible nightmare.
Angelus was as relieved as his boy to be finished with the latest round of "punishment." He hated that he was even able to find enjoyment in it, but he couldn't help that. It was only physical pleasure... but somehow that was less than comforting.
He returned to sit on the stairs and wait. He wished for about the hundredth time that William would just give Darla what she wanted. A simple promise, and this would be over.
Another part of him, however, was proud of his boy for withstanding Darla's punishment. Will had proven himself to be much stronger than Darla or himself had thought. He *was* most definitely worthy of the name Aurelius.
He just hoped Will would give in eventually, rather than let himself be broken beyond any hope of recovering.
"I don't know why I'm wasting my time," Darla said with a shrug as she stepped in front of William. "I should just end your miserable existence. But on the off chance you're starting to understand my point... are you ready to behave now?"
"I was never *mis*behaving," Spike croaked, his voice raw from hours of screaming.
Darla moved out of sight and Spike waited, suddenly hating himself for his stubbornness. *Just tell her what she wants to hear, damn it!* he screamed at himself. *Make it stop!*
He wanted to. But he couldn't. He just couldn't let Darla win.
She returned, holding a cup of water. "Thirsty?" she asked.
He gave her a suspicious look. Why would she offer to help him, after hours of causing him excruciating pain?
"It's *water,*" she sighed, rolling her eyes at him.
He tried to figure out what the trick would be, but couldn't think of one. And water would be welcome since he'd screamed himself hoarse. Blood would be *more* welcome, but he knew that was too much to hope for.
He gave in, nodding. She held the cup to his lips and he gulped it down quickly, and then berated himself for being so gullible. He howled in agony as the holy water burned his throat and stomach lining. He coughed up blood, and Darla laughed. He growled, knowing that when he got free, he'd rip her cruel heart right from her chest.
Angelus winced and stood. This had gone too far and he couldn't let it continue. "Darla--" He fell silent when she turned on him with a withering look. Her expression made it quite clear that if he tried to protect William, it would anger her even further. And that would only make it that much worse on his boy.
He sat down, refusing to meet his childe's eyes.
"Time for you to play, now, Angelus," Darla said.
"Darla... love, I'm tired. Can't we get some rest for a few hours?" he asked.
She frowned. "No. Now do as I say, Angelus!"
He sighed and walked back over to William. The whimper the boy uttered when he touched him made him wish he could make it stop. But he couldn't. William was the only one who could end the punishment. He just had to stop being so stubborn.
He moved behind Will and steeled himself for the screams he knew he'd be hearing for the next few minutes.
Spike bit his lip to keep from making a sound. Darla had given Angelus a whip an hour ago, and his sire had shown no signs of growing tired of it. Finally, though, Spike didn't really feel the pain as much as he had before. It was there, but mixed up in a haze of blood, screaming, and laughter.
And Angelus... he tried not to think about how his sire had betrayed his trust. He had been stupid enough *to* trust Angelus, and he knew now that had been his hugest of mistakes. He should have known that Angelus didn't care for him in the slightest. Tonight, his sire had proven that. He never wanted to feel the older vampire's touch again. And as soon he was let free from the chains, he'd do everything possible to make sure he never had to.
He wasn't sure how long he'd been hanging here. It felt like it had been days. Given the fact that Angelus and Darla hadn't left to feed yet, it had probably only been a day at the most. He moaned when the whip landed across his penis. It was still in the strap and throbbed painfully, and he suspected that when the strap was removed the pain would be even more agonizing.
"Enough of that," Darla said. "I'm hungry," she added. Spike let out a sigh of relief. Was it possible they were actually going to leave him alone for a little while?
Angelus nodded. "I'm hungry, too, Darla. Let's go out and feed."
"No," she said. "There's no need to do that, when we have a perfect source of blood right here."
Spike stared at her. She wouldn't. And then he knew... she would. As she walked closer to him, he looked to Angelus. *Stop this! Please! Why are you letting her do this, treat me like a slave or a minion?!* Angelus refused to look into his eyes, though. He didn't care.
Angelus racked his brain for some way to keep Darla from continuing the torture of his childe... but he came up with nothing. He watched, feeling helpless, as she tore into Will's throat, drinking greedily. Will whimpered in pain, but other than that didn't make a sound.
*Just tell her what she wants to hear, damn it!* Angelus thought.
Spike moaned in pain as Darla's fangs ripped into his jugular. As he felt his life blood pouring out of him, he struggled, but it was no use. She was going to drain him... and he couldn't do anything to stop her. *Not true. You can give her what she wants,* he reminded himself. But he wouldn't do that. Maybe just letting her destroy him *would* be the best option. At least then, he'd stop hurting.
He felt himself drifting into a state of semi-consciousness and he welcomed it. Even though he was still aware of the pain, he felt more disconnected from it than he had. It was a slight relief. Probably the only relief he'd have.
Angelus let out the breath he didn't know he'd been holding when Darla finally pulled away. He looked at Will and could see the boy was very close to being completely drained. He didn't seem to be quite as alert as before... but maybe that was something to be thankful for. Perhaps he was finally getting some reprieve from the agonizing pain he'd been in.
"Are you hungry too, Darling?" she asked, turning to him with a grin.
"I'm fine, Love," he replied. And then he got an idea and was irritated with himself for not thinking of it hours earlier. "Well... on second thought, I am hungry... but not for blood," he smirked, walking over to her. He pushed away the revulsion he felt for her after hours of seeing her cruelty turned on his favorite childe, and kissed her passionately.
He caught the scent of her arousal and thought that he might actually succeed in distracting her away from Will for a little while. When he pulled back, he said, "Let's go to bed, Love. Let Will suffer alone for a while. Perhaps he'll be more willing to agree with our rules after he doesn't get to feed today."
Darla considered for a few moments. "Maybe..." She did want to be with Angelus, it was an excellent way to make him forget about his brat childe. And this would aid her intention of making William come to despise rather than adore Angelus. She glanced over at the young vampire and could see that part of her plan was already working beautifully. And the first part... several hours alone with Angelus would remind him that she was much more fun to be with than his spoiled boy.
"Yes, Darling, let's go to bed," she agreed.
Angelus sighed in relief, more for Will's sake than his own and took Darla's hand, walking back upstairs with her.
Angelus rolled off of Darla, relieved she seemed to finally be sated after three hours and too many orgasms to count. But as she curled up against him and drifted off to sleep, he knew it had been worth it. She wouldn't be hurting his boy again for at least a few hours.
He waited until he was certain she was sound asleep, and then slipped out of bed and went down to the basement. He wasn't sure what he was going to do, but he knew he had to do *something*. He regretted not protecting William from Darla's hatred.
He felt a wave of guilt, a feeling he was completely unaccustomed to, when he saw his childe. William was covered in bloody gashes and purple bruises from head to toe. He slumped in his chains, too weak to hold himself up any longer. And it was no wonder that was the case, when Darla had drained him almost completely earlier that evening.
Spike felt his sire's presence and forced his eyes open. "Go the hell away!" he tried to scream. It came out as a whisper rather than a scream however, because his throat was still raw from the combination of his earlier screams and the burns from the holy water.
"Darla's asleep and she'll stay that way unless you wake her," Angelus warned his childe as he walked over. He ignored the scent of fear that permeated the air... he wasn't going to hurt Will. His boy would understand that soon enough.
"And when she does wake up, I strongly suggest that you say the words she wants to hear," he added.
"Won't..." Spike replied, wincing at the pain. His whole body was just a mass of pain. "Won't... let her... win."
Angelus sighed. So stubborn. An attribute that in certain situations he wanted to see in his childer. But not in this one. "Please, Will," he said. He caught the surprise in his childe's eyes but continued. "Just say the words. At this point, I don't even care whether you mean them or not, as long as Darla never finds out it's a lie."
"Are you saying--" Spike stopped as he felt his throat begin to bleed. Damn holy water.
Angelus sensed his boy's agony and made a quick decision. He let his demon forward and bit into his wrist, then held it to Will's mouth. "Drink, Childe." He caught the rebellious glint in the boy's eyes, and added, "It will heal you," even though he knew Will couldn't resist the offer of sire's blood, even if he wanted to.
Spike hated the thought of accepting anything from Angelus, but he *was* starving. So he pushed away his pride and latched onto the bleeding wound. He whimpered from the pain as he swallowed the blood, but he continued drinking anyway. He *needed* it, and could already feel the healing power begin to work.
He considered Angelus' suggestion as he drank. Would it be so terrible to let Darla believe she'd won, if that hadn't been the case?
He didn't know anymore. All he knew was he wanted the pain to stop.
Angelus pulled away, sooner than he wanted to, but he had no choice. Just a tiny bit of blood to ease his boy's pain, no more. He couldn't let Darla discover that he'd defied her and helped William. He wouldn't risk being responsible for her continuing torture of his childe.
"I have to go, before she discovers my absence," he said. "Think about what I said though, Will. Just a few words will end your suffering."
"What do *you* care," William retorted, his anger toward his sire finally surfacing.
"You're my childe," was Angelus' only reply, as he turned and left.
Spike looked up as Angelus and Darla returned. And when he saw the happy glint in Darla's eyes, he made his decision. "I'm sorry," he said, his voice hoarse. "Please don't punish me anymore, Darla. I won't hunt with the railroad spike anymore. I won't get into barroom brawls. I won't defy you or Angelus ever again. I promise."
Darla frowned, disappointed to hear William actually give in to her demands. She had been enjoying breaking him slowly but now it was suddenly over? No. "I don't believe you."
"Darla, he just gave you everything you demanded of him," Angelus said. "At least wait and find out whether he's lying or not."
"If he *is* lying, I'll destroy him," she said, turning to Angelus. "Do you want to take that chance ? Wouldn't you rather we were certain we had broken that stubborn spirit now, beyond any doubt?"
"He made a promise and I believe him," Angelus replied. He hoped his eagerness to secure his childe's freedom wasn't too obvious. "Please, Darla. Give him a chance--"
"How many chances?!" Darla growled. "I'm serious, Angelus. This chance, if I agree to give it to him, will be his last."
"Darla... I know him. He's not lying. You won't be disappointed by giving him this chance," Angelus said. He glanced over at William, but all he saw was undisguised hatred, toward himself as well as Darla. *He'll get over his anger* he tried to convince himself.
"I know *I* won't be disappointed," Darla shrugged. "If I have to destroy him, I won't lose a second's sleep over it. But very well," she nodded. "I'll give you this. Unchain him."
Angelus walked over to William and unlocked the shackles at his wrists. He barely stopped himself from catching the boy, as he fell to his knees. He knew how Darla would react if he lifted even a finger to help his childe... So he ignored the urge.
"Let's go back to bed, Darling, since we've no other means of entertainment for the day," Darla said. Angelus nodded and followed her, throwing Will an apologetic look. The boy didn't see it, though, choosing to avoid looking at him at all.