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Changing Your Mind 2

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Changing Your Mind 2

by Annie

Changing Your Mind

By Annie

Rated: PG
Summary: Spike is hidden in Luthor Mansion Disclaimer: Never owned 'em; never will. Spoilers: Buffy Season 7
Elephants courtesy of Sally. :)

Lex unlocked the heavy door and eased into the small room carefully. No one would hear or see him, not in this mostly forgotten part of the castle, but Lex never knew from one visit to the next which Spike he'd find; the insane, rambling one, whose words seemed to make sense only to Spike, or the briefly lucid vampire, who had somehow received a soul he hadn't realized would be so much trouble. Lex thought it ironic that Spike would have gotten a soul on purpose, and Lex was almost willing to sell his for the one thing he'd probably never have.

He held the bag of butcher's blood out like an offering as he stepped into the room, waiting for Spike to actually say something first, so Lex could gauge his current frame of mind.

" 'Bout bloody time," he heard, and stifled a smile, closing the door behind him and handing the bag to Spike, who generally waited until Lex left the room to drink it anyway. "What did you find out?"

Lex leaned against the cool wall, glancing around the room quickly; small bed, one chair and a table, and a few books, nothing he really thought Spike would want to read, but which he had brought anyway. Lex knew this was hard on Spike, but this was the only safe place for the moment.

"I spoke to Dr. Greer, he's the best out of the Initiative scientists that I have at my disposal. He was demanding to actually see you before he'd tell me anything, but I managed to persuade him against that particular idea."

Spike smirked. "I'm sure you were very......persuasive. I've already been on the receiving end of what you call persuasion, mate."

Lex ignored the 'mate,' which was a term he hated and which he knew Spike used deliberately.

Lex put his hands in his pockets and relaxed, but fractionally; if Spike was sane just then, it didn't mean he couldn't turn nasty at a moment's notice, and Lex was always ready to bolt out the door and lock it again behind him.

"Dr. Greer is of the opinion that the chip isn't causing your mental instability at all. He said if the chip starts misfiring, or something, it will simply end up killing you. But it won't make you crazy. He still wants to examine you personally."

"Not going to happen," Spike declared firmly, starting to pace back and forth, but still remaining at the other end of the room, barely eyeing the bag he had laid on the table. When Spike was thinking clearly, he usually stayed across the room from Lex, sensing the high-tension strumming of fear and excitement beneath Lex's cool exterior. Spike would not allow a replay of their two brief encounters, no matter how willing he felt Lex might be.

"I told him as much," Lex agreed, "In no uncertain terms. I just don't know what to do for you, other than hiding you out and feeding you."

Spike started pacing faster, a sure sign of agitation, and Lex's hands came out of his pockets as he sidled a bit closer to the door.

"Spike?" He began, trying to reassure the vampire that he had things under control. "There is still the problem of the federal agents. I don't want them here, and I don't want to send them to Sunnydale looking for demons either, since I'm not supposed to know about that. I'll figure something out. We'll figure something out. No doubt they're still trying to track the Initiative scientists down, and Agent Mulder made some passing references to Clark that I find very disturbing. I know he's going to come back here, and I intend to be ready for him. I'll keep him away from both of you. Those scientists are mine, and I don't want the government getting their hands on you and finding out I have them. I have no idea how you would react to interrogation, especially if you go into one of your...episodes. As for Clark,....."

Spike interrupted him then. "Clark is also yours, right? Wishful thinking, Luthor. I don't see that happening either. He wants the little sugary thing. You should protect him. Not that he can't protect himself, but he has no idea of the monsters there are out there, the black-hearted heathens who would dissect him as soon as look at him. And your Initiative scientists would be the first ones to try it. Believe me. Keep him away from them, too."

"No one is getting near Clark. I've taken steps to insure it."

Spike studied Lex's face seriously. "You're very determined. You know, Lex, sometimes that doesn't help. Thanks for the dinner," the vampire said in dismissal. "Don't forget to lock up on your way out. Wouldn't do to let a demon wander the castle all night, now, would it?"

Lex gave him a half smile and turned to go, leaving him to his bag. "Oh, I almost forgot," Lex said, reaching back into a pocket and tossing a pack of cigarettes and some matches onto the table. "Didn't know if you still smoked or not, but here. You should have seen the look the maid gave me when I sent her out for them."

Spike nodded his thanks, waiting for Lex to leave the room.

Lex paused in the doorway. "By the way," he asked, "Who is William?"

Spike's eyes flickered to the floor briefly. "William is lost. There is no William."

It was hours later, when Lex had finally managed to fall into restless sleep, that the screaming started reaching into his subconscious through the small intercom on his bedside table. The link to Spike's tiny room gave a painful electronic squeal and went silent. Lex was instantly awake, threw an unbuttoned shirt over the silk boxers he had worn to bed and, grabbing the small wooden cross from beside the now-dead intercom, raced to the locked room on the other side of the mansion. He could hear the furniture being flung around, and jumped back, startled, when something, probably the chair, hit the door with a crash.

"Spike!" Lex called through the door. "Stop it! I'm coming in to help you."

Lex could hear through the door as Spike picked the chair up and heaved it again, even more forcefully this time, the sound of splintering wood a very bad sign.

"You can't help," Spike railed from inside the room. "I can bloody well help myself now!"

Lex abandoned logical thought and swiftly unlocked the door, thrusting the wooden cross inside first and following quickly after it. The vampire snarled and stepped back, but not very far, looked like he would welcome a fight just about then, but abruptly dropped the splintered leg of the chair he had been holding and leaned dejectedly against the wall. Lex noted the wreck of the room peripherally, and wondered how long Spike had been rampaging before he had actually started screaming.

"I don't care what you do," Spike mumbled, clenching and unclenching his fists helplessly.

Lex circled Spike warily, keeping the cross at arm's length in front of him. "I'm not going to do anything, Spike. I came to see what all the fuss is about. Can't you sleep? Do you need something?"

"Anything you want to give me, I'm not taking," Spike told him, glaring balefully at Lex. "Don't need that, can't touch you, mustn't touch you, her, anyone. Can't touch me, bugs in my head, fire ants, they bite. I'm cold."

Spike quieted suddenly, slid slowly down the wall until he was sitting on the floor, knees pulled up against him, head down and hands restless, like last night when Lex had found him in the kitchen. He began to mumble softly again, and Lex stooped down in front of him, laying the cross down within easy reach, gambling on the fact that Greer was right and the chip was still functioning. He wanted to hear what Spike was saying, wanted to remember every word.

"Nancy-boy got his for free, had to fight for mine, fought my way back from the dead and I'm still dead. Here we are now. They'll leave me there to burn some day, first time evil comes around."

"Nancy-boy?" Lex ventured, perplexed, but Spike was rambling and not paying any attention to him.

"Bound to the boy, I see it. Linked like me, but it's to her, linked forever, both fucked, vampire, poncy rich man, makes no difference, fate doesn't bloody care. Angelus said...."

Spike laid his head on his knees and closed his eyes, one silent tear tracking it's way down his face.

Lex sat beside him against the wall, putting an arm around him gently and pulling him in closer. Whatever the problem was in Spike's head, it was killing him slowly, and Lex could see how far he was now from the Spike who had come to see him last year. Something was very wrong in Sunnydale, and in Spike.

Lex found himself stroking the vampire's arm, reached up with his other hand to smooth over the sharp planes of Spike's face. Found the wet trail of the single, cold tear and brushed it away, resisting the urge to see if it tasted like a tear from someone alive and warm. "Shhhh," Lex breathed soothingly into the tousled hair tickling his cheek. "Sleep, Spike," he urged. "I'll keep the bugs away."

"Love her to kill her," Spike whispered. "All wrong, all the wrong things to do. Went to Africa. Animals. Demons. The elephant pinks in the bathtub but only on Thursdays."

"Of course it does," Lex replied automatically, pulling Spike in a bit closer, gears in his mind working overtime. "It always will."

William. Angelus. Africa.

Lex frowned. He had a lot more research to do.