This is for 100moods
Title: Pretend I care
Characters: Lindsey McDonald, Marcus Hamilton
Prompt: 006. Apathetic
Word Count: 1,124
Warnings/Spoilers: AU after Underneath
Summary: Everything comes down to what you can get out of it.
Pretend I care
He landed at the bottom of the stairs with a wet splat. My eyebrows shot up as I walked over to the edge of the cell. I leaned against the bars and waited to see if anyone or anything was going to come down and see if he was really dead or not. While I waited, I kept my eyes on the ever growing pool of blood. I’d never met the man before, but I’d seen him in passing. He was what Eve used to be. No, that wasn’t right. He was what she could have been if the Partners hadn’t tainted her with some human qualities.
When no one showed up in ten minutes, I cleared my throat. “Marcus.” He moaned softly. A human would have died by now; no one could lose that much blood and still be alive. “Marcus, you need to open your eyes. You know you can’t die, not unless they decide they no longer need you.”
His hands and legs twitched and I could see bones sticking out through the clothing he was wearing. Marcus might not be able to die, but he could still feel pain. The shock alone was enough to make him slip away for a while until the damage could repair itself. I couldn’t let him go without getting something first.
“What did you do, huh? You finally piss Angel or his buddies off enough that they gutted you like a trout and threw your ass down here with the rest of the garbage?” Maybe he’d angered the Watcher. That guy had lost part of his mind when he’d lost his girlfriend and I didn’t think he was going to recover any time soon. If Marcus had been stupid enough to mention her around him...
“Failed...” The word was garbled as it fell from his lips and a bubble of blood burst on his lips.
Now that was interesting. He was being punished by the Partners. “Are they going to help you recover, Marcus? Or are they going to let you suffer for a while first?”
The eye I could see fluttered open. I wasn’t sure if he could actually focus on me though. “The god king... she should have been removed by now.” He started to cough and for a moment, I didn’t think he would be able to stop.
Eve had told me about the way that the Partners had punished liaisons and I had to figure they were pretty damn pissed that an old rival had suddenly reappeared on their home turf. He was their eyes and ears once they’d removed Eve from power. Technically, it should have been her fault since it happened under her watch, but she was no longer on the payroll. How exactly did one go about removing a god king? Even Marcus wouldn’t be strong enough to take her on. They had to have known he’d lose in a fight. Or maybe that was the point.
Closing my eyes for a moment, I thought about everything Eve had whispered to me over the past couple of months. Then a smile crossed my lips. Yeah, that would work perfectly. “Stretch your arm out, Marcus. I want you to reach for me.”
That was an excellent question. Glad to see he hadn’t scrambled his brain on the way down. “If you don’t, you’re going to lie there in a pool of your own blood and filth for at least a day. I already had my meal earlier; I won’t be getting anything else. And unless someone touches you or someone shows the Partners that you’re worth keeping here, they won’t let you heal.” Right now, in their eyes, he was unclean. And if I touched Marcus, someone they probably hated even more than him, they might just let him continue to exist for a while.
His fingers started to stretch and I heard him hiss in pain. “You don’t like me.”
It wasn’t a question. I smiled a little wider. “Not a bit.”
He stopped just short of the cell bars. I crouched down and stuck my arm out. “I help you, and then you’re going to unlock that door so I can leave.”
Come on, take the damn bait. Let me get out of this rotten cage before someone decides I’m not worth keeping around any more. They’d already punished me in the holding dimension; I was no longer worth their time or their effort. Holding dimensions weren’t exactly cheap either.
“Eve. Are you...?”
All he had to do was shift just a little bit closer. I muttered something under my breath. Eve was useless to me now, she’d served her purpose. “No. She’ll be staying here.” And by the time she realized I was gone, she’d never be able to find me again.
His split lips curled into what should have been a smile. “Good.” Then Marcus’ fingers brushed against mine and the world went white.
I had heard them in my head before, telling me that I was a traitor and whispering things I’d never wanted to hear until I thought I was going to go insane. It wasn’t the torture from the Wrath that made people flip out; it was what went on inside where no one else could listen in. They were trying to understand why I’d helped him when I knew they hated me.
The answer was easy. “You have much bigger problems than me. You’ve got a god king in your building. You have a couple of vampires with souls plotting to bring everything you hold dear crashing down. You have a former liaison who knows how you can be hurt. Add it all together and you won’t come out of this on top. You’ll lose. For the first time in centuries, you can lose. I read the scrolls, I know the prophecies. Heal your boy, let me out of this cage and focus on the more important things. You’re going to need his help to do it.”
When my eyes could see again, I looked down at Marcus. He’d passed out and even as I stared, I could see the bones sliding back under his skin again. The room trembled and shook until the cell door opened. I glanced towards the ceiling. “Just remember, if something happens to me, all of my information will find its way to Angel. I have a spell in place.” Angel wasn’t the only one who could use Vail to do his dirty work. Always cover your bases; it’ll pay off in the long run.
I patted Marcus on the shoulder on my way towards the stairs. “Good luck with that whole ‘kill the god king’ thing. You’re going to need it.”