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The key in the door woke him up. Angel pushed so he was sitting up, but he was too beaten to do any more. His body hurt and it was hungry. Every molecule in him begged to be fed. If he were mortal the pains would have ended by now and he'd be silently waiting, but with his body already dead, it knew nothing but pain and emptiness.

The master stood by the door. The girl with him was well-punctured and nearly gone. She was past being terrified. Past being everything except lunch. His stomach rumbled and his teeth were out before he could stop them.


Angel looked at him, trying to fake disinterest, but he was too hungry to pull it off and he knew it. "She's dead anyways," the master said. He was enjoying himself. "You can't save her. You're going to be dead in the next day or so unless you feed, so why don't you bend a little? Or are you going to let your noble soul be the source of eternal pain of you?" the master dropped his voice. "You do know what's going to happen to that soul, don't you, Angel? You haven't repented nearly enough."

Angel held still. The girl managed a cry as the master threw her into the cell. "Please," she managed. Angel crawled to her as far as the chains would give--he didn't have the strength to stand. He didn't have the energy to fight anymore. She was crying now. The hunger ripped inside him, he couldn't stop himself. She looked up to him once, and barely shook her head, but he pulled the hair off her neck and bit in. He found himself growling as he couldn't find a vein in her neck that hadn't been punctured. But then he did and the blood filled his mouth, thick and sweet and he found himself swallowing and swallowing and swallowing until the girl sagged in his arms. He threw the body aside, hunger not slacked by half.

The master laughed, delighted. "That's my boy, I knew you weren't as stupid as you looked."

Angel growled, wanting more. The blood in him did nothing but wake old pains. He had to feed. The hunger crashed through him.

"Haven't you heard? Only the first on is free," the master said. His voice is silk now. He came into the cell. There was nothing Angel could use to fight with. There was nothing to fight for. The master pulled him to his knees.

Angel looked down. He was too hungry to fight. The master knew it, too. His penis, like his head, had long since lost its humanness. It was as scaly and as bumpy as the rest of him. Depsite himself, Angel couldn't do it. He pulled back.

And heard the first match strike. "Is puppy being bad?"

Willow stood by the entrance of the cell. Her head was cocked to one side, and her lazy smile seemed directed at something else. "Is he being naughty? Naughty puppies need lessons."

"Willow, my dear, this is not the time," the master said. He hadn't turned to her, and while his annoyance was clear, his voice was indulgent.

"I can't play with the puppy?" Willow asked. Her nails clicked against the bars as she walked along the cells.

Angel tensed, knowing what being played with meant, and the master smiled at him. Bestowed him another favour. "No, dear, not tonight. Run along, now."

Willow pouted dramatically, but she wasn't going to challenge the master over it. She walked away, her leathers reflecting in the torch-light, and the door closed behind her with a clank.

"Are you not going to thank me?" the master asked. He pulled his teeth back, revealing the double grooved teeth. Angel looked away. There was a time he could have spat in the master's face and damned whatever Willow had in store, but he hadn't the strength to fight any more. That was a luxury.

"I am growing tired of this game you are playing, Angelus, I don't want to have to tell you what happens when I grow tired. I'll cut chunks of you off and throw them in the sunlight to roast. You'll eat them with a bernaise sauce. Are you willing to have me grow tired?"

Angel looked down. "No," he said. The word felt rusty in his throat. If he breathed, he would have sighed.

The master smiled. He lifted Angel's chin, stroking the skin gently, almost lovingly. "Disgusting," he repeated. "You wear your human skin like you are one of them. Show me yourself, Angel. I'll not have a human-looking scum pleasure me."

Angel shook his head. The master backhanded him. The blow was hard enough to knock him to the side. The iron tore at his skin and he didn't have enough blood to bleed with. Angel crawled back to his knees and bowed his head, but didn't change.

"You are a constant source of amusement, Angelus," the master said, smiling. He picked Angel up by his throat, holding him at arm's reach above the floor. The side of Angel's face still hurt from the blow, but the throbbing pain didn't register as the blood to his brain cut off. Phantom remembrances of strangulation surfaced, and Angel felt his arms almost tear from their sockets. "Is this it? Is this how you want to die?"

Angel tried to calm himself. If he didn't anger the master enough to kill him this way, it would be another. The ending was inevitable. The slayer should have come, but he realized now that it had been an elaborate trick for him to repent.

He should had let go and accepted, but the master shook him again and the deep-rooted anger took over. He couldn't help himself. The master must have noticed, because he shook harder. "You are more pathetic than the meat," the master snarled.

The pain triggered automatic responses. He couldn't stop that. He snarled again, vamp-faced, and the master dropped him like a doll. "Excellent," he said. "That wasn't too hard, was it?"

The master took hold of his hair, throwing Angel's head back. "Now, watch those teeth," he said. Angel fought for a moment, until he saw the master's smile. He parted his lips and took it.

It was over before Angel knew it. Sex, like eating and hunting, had bored the master eons ago, which left nothing for him to taste but fear, pain, and humiliation, which Angel had already given over. The master pulled his pants and left the cage. "The puppy is waiting," the master said as the door closed.

Angel closed his eyes. Reminding himself that he deserved it helped accepting it.