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Changing Your Mind

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Changing Your Mind

by Annie

Changing Your Mind

By Annie

Rated: PG
Summary: Lex tries to protect Clark from the X-Files; Spike comes back from Africa and needs help. Disclaimer: Still not mine, despite the Spell of Acquisition. Spoilers: Buffy Season 6/7

Three weeks and twice that number of ignored phone calls from Agent Mulder later, Spike came to the mansion. Well, kind of Spike, but mostly not the Spike Lex would have expected. Lex had wandered into the dark kitchen to get more ice for the bucket in his office when a hand whipped out from beneath a stainless steel counter and grabbed his ankle, scaring the hell out of him and knocking him to the floor. Lex was scrambling away to go for a weapon when he saw who it was.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Lex asked harshly, backing away to regain some composure. He looked incredulously at the sight before him.

The vampire, huddled beneath a counter in the Luthor kitchen, in the dark. Quivering the slightest bit, eyes flicking around restlessly, legs pulled to his chest and fingers playing aimlessly on the denim covering his shins. Hair almost all roots, and Spike looked like he hadn't been taking care of himself since Lex had left him in Sunnydale. Lex thought that if Spike could breathe, he looked like he would be hyperventilating.

Lex reached out tentatively to Spike, but the vampire moved further into his defensive crouch, if that was possible. "Spike? What the hell happened? Why are you here?"

Spike's ice blue eyes focused on Lex's face for a brief moment, skittering away again just as quickly.

"Where am I?" he asked fearfully.

Lex frowned. "Under the counter?" he offered, thinking that probably wasn't the right answer. He almost reached out again, but that had seemed to upset Spike, so he forced himself to remain still and non-threatening.

"Counter," Spike muttered. "Counter. Counter measures. Measures should be taken. Never do that again."

Okay, Lex thought, something's seriously fucked here.

"Did you go to Africa, Spike?" Lex asked, trying to figure out what the hell could be going on.

Spike buried his face in his hands and laughed, a bit hysterically, Lex thought.

"Bugs. In my head." The vampire mumbled, trembling fingers reaching up to dig at his scalp furiously, pulling at his own hair, low moan coming to Lex from the dark recess.

Something wrong with the chip, then, Lex mused, something that was making the vampire crazy.

Okay, Lex told himself. Stay calm. You have an insane vampire huddled under a steel cabinet in your kitchen and the live-in servants are too far away to hear anything; you have no idea if the chip still works or not; you don't know what he'll do if you try to physically pull him out into the open, so best not to try. Lex inhaled and sat more comfortably on the floor, mentally running through the contents of drawers all around him to try to remember where the wooden spoons were.

Spike had stopped scratching at his scalp and was simply resting his head on his knees, fingers still twitching spasmodically against his legs. Lex figured he could just get up and leave the room, but this development was so unexpected he hardly knew how to react. Bad enough he had spent the last three weeks trying to pry secrets out of Clark and avoiding Fox Mulder's phone calls, which he intended to do something about by calling the Director's office again tomorrow. Bad enough the Initiative scientists, to whom he paid incredible amounts of money, were unable to successfully duplicate Spike's chip, and now the very piece of technology that Lex might have been able to obtain for them seemed to be malfunctioning anyway. Not that Lex would have allowed them to take it out. He wouldn't want to be responsible for unleashing a creature as vicious as Spike was alleged to be on the populace. Too much to be thinking about on top of all the business he had to conduct on a daily basis. Thankfully, at least, Lionel was still hanging out in Metropolis.

Spike raised his head suddenly, causing Lex to jump slightly, ready to bolt from the room. Just in case.

"Lex, " Spike said, abruptly lucid. "You have to help me."

Lex blinked in surprise. "You know where you are?" he asked carefully.

Spike crawled out of his hiding place, Lex scrambling to his feet and retreating a few steps, waiting to see what was going to happen next.

"Yea, I know where the hell I am!" Spike replied. "Do you think I wanted to come here? This is almost the last place I want to be, but you're the only one who can help. Well, except maybe Red, but I don't think she'll be doing any helping in my direction after...,well, she won't. That's all you need to know."

The vampire was being very defensive, Lex thought. "What the hell did you do back there that was so bad, Spike?" Lex asked, thinking he might tell him this time.

"Nothing. Everything. Has nothing to do with you anyway. I went to Africa."

Lex opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of water, offering one to Spike who simply raised an eyebrow and didn't reach for it.

"I know you went to Africa, Spike. I paid for the round-trip ticket. I don't understand why you're back here, unless you have more information for me, something you held back when we spoke in Sunnydale. I thought we were even."

"We are," Spike told him simply. "Anyway, I went to Africa, because I heard things, about....things. You wouldn't get this bloody chip taken out for me, and I thought if I made myself better...worthy....I thought...."

Spike lost track then, abruptly. "I have to go back and show her....can't show her...don't know how." Spike suddenly began tearing at his shirt, ripping it to pieces and flinging the tatters to the floor at Lex's feet. He started raking his fingernails across his bare chest, striping his pale skin with blood. He had his head down, looking at his hands as if they couldn't possibly help, even though they were trying.

Spike raised his head to look into Lex's shocked face. "Can't you see it? Can you see in here and find it for me? I can't find it!" He was digging into his flesh even more desperately now and Lex dropped the water and reached out to grab Spike's hands, forcibly trying to make him stop, cold blood getting all over his hands and Spike's.

"Stop it, Spike," he was shouting. "You have to stop this! I'll help you. Whatever you want, I'll help."

He managed to get Spike's hands stilled and held them in his, against Spike's chest, as the vampire closed his eyes and rested his head against Lex's.

"I can't find it. I think William has it." Spike said quietly.

Oh, yea, Lex thought, seriously fucked.