Angel didn’t remember ever feeling this weak before. This was worse, even, than when the curse landed. That had been horror and depression and starvation. The starvation part was still there. Horror was too exhausting for him to sustain, and depression… Well, that was just a word.
Maybe he was depressed. When he was alone-- most of the time-- everything was gray. He didn’t think he actually existed. No. He existed. He existed enough for fear. He existed enough for guilt and memory.
Angelus had been so pleased by what he’d created in Drusilla. Angel had tried very, very hard not to think about her.
Drusilla allowed him neither option now.
Drusilla knew Angel’s weak points, physical, mental, emotional, and pressed on all of them without mercy. She had more precision about it than Angelus had ever had.
Angelus hated her now. Angelus wanted to make her suffer.
Angel… knew that someone had to pay for his sins. Angel only existed because Angelus deserved punishment. Anything Angel might do or experience or be had always been beside the point.
Blood hunger was simply easy to exploit. After a few months, even Spike knew exactly how much was needed to keep Angel alive but on the edge of losing his control. Very precisely on the edge. Angel could keep himself from murder-- just-- but the siren call of surrender was constant because he knew that, if he broke and killed, Drusilla would reward him with a few scraps of kindness.
She’d promised him that, and Angelus had enough voice to tell Angel that her keeping the promise was a sharper knife for gutting them.
Not that Drusilla and Spike didn’t have other-- some of them literal-- knives to use on him.
Mostly, though, they left him chained in the dark with his grief and his weakness and his hunger. The sound of the lock turning meant blood, but it also meant pain of one sort or another. He knew the basic pattern of that now because the same things happened, over and over.
First, Drusilla arrived in search of an obedient and attentive lover. Angel could give her that, probably would have even without guessing what she would do if he didn’t. It was a little bit of time when he could pretend that what lay between them had ever been good.
Then, after Drusilla left, hours later, sometimes even as long as a day later, Spike came in with devastating violence and very personalized cruelty. Angel fought then. Sometimes. Less now than at the beginning. No one had ever pretended that Spike and Angelus liked each other, so Angel had nowhere to go to deceive himself that maybe he could please Spike enough for things to be okay.
Finally, both of them played with him together in some sort of fucked up reconciliation with each other, using him to give each other pleasure. A time or two after that, they’d fuck Angel and each other until they got bored or hungry.
Then Drusilla would come to Angel alone again.
It had taken him three cycles to understand that she knew exactly what was going to happen, that she expected it and wanted it. She understood that him knowing that general shape of events made her cyclical gentleness a worse violation than any torture Spike might inflict.
Angel wasn’t sure when Spike figured it out, just that the fourth or fifth time through, Spike acknowledged it. “Dru likes it when I leave marks,” he said as he pressed a burning cigarette into Angel’s flesh.
Angel couldn’t sustain a scream by that point, but his back arched as he tried to break the contact between the cigarette and his skin.
Spike’s weight pinned Angel’s shoulders to the cracked linoleum of the floor. “That’s part of why we starve you,” he said in a conversational tone. “Takes longer for the marks to go. Bad luck for you.”
Angel was beyond any verbal response, and even if he’d been able to muster curses, Spike had gagged him. Spike always gagged him. Angel shuddered and made himself go still.
Spike looked vaguely disappointed. He spent a little time with a knife, carving a Celtic knot over Angel’s heart. “None of it’s good luck for you, I suppose. She wants me to stay interested in you.” He met Angel’s eyes. “Not that I’m not, but I’d have left you for the sun to take by now if it was just me. Traveling with you is beyond a pain in the arse.”
Angel suspected that part of the reason Spike gagged him was so that Drusilla wouldn’t sneak an advance peek at the love letters Spike was writing to her in Angel’s flesh-- burns and cuts, broken bones and dislocated joints.
Angel had known that Spike adored Drusilla and routinely gave her other people’s pain as a courting gift. Angel hadn’t known the other part, the other reason why Spike always gagged Angel-- Spike understood the curse. Spike knew that Angelus was still there inside Angel and that Angel knew everything that Angelus had. Spike knew that the demon was merely hobbled and tortured by feelings no vampire had ever been meant to experience.
What Spike and Drusilla were doing would eventually erode those feelings and destroy Angel’s capacity not to be Angelus, and Spike knew that Angelus would exploit his weak points.
Angelus knew who Spike had been as a human. Angelus was paying attention to Spike now, to how he thought and how he fought. Angelus had been wrong about many things in the past, but he still had good guesses about what words might push Spike in convenient directions or might even simply hurt Spike.
Angel was desperate enough to use that. He was also pretty sure that him hurting Spike wouldn’t make anything Spike did worse. Being physically helpless meant that Angel would have to go after Spike’s emotions. He knew now that all of the flashiness drawing attention to Spike’s physical prowess distracted anyone from noticing his profound attachment to Drusilla or his deeply rooted need to force people to take him seriously.
Guarding against that was a hell of a lot smarter than Angel had expected Spike to be, than Angelus had ever imagined Spike could be.
The fact that Spike and Drusilla had been a long way away from Darla and the Master when the Harvest came was smarter than Angel had expected Spike to be. Angel had seen Darla without the rest of the family and assumed that they were dead. They couldn’t have survived without her protection.
But they had. They’d survived, and Buffy’s Watcher had known Spike by reputation.
Thinking about Buffy hurt worse than the three broken fingers on Angel’s left hand, but Spike and Drusilla would have told him if Buffy were dead, so obviously-- obviously-- she wasn’t.
Angel forced aside thoughts of Buffy and awareness of what Spike was doing to his body to wonder who had made the decision to part ways. Angel had assumed that Darla had gotten bored, but now he suspected that Spike and Drusilla had ‘accidentally’ failed to board a boat right before it sailed. Drusilla might have seen something, or Spike might have realized that, without Angelus, he and Drusilla weren’t very interesting to Darla and might be expendable.
Darla had never had much imagination.
Spike reclaimed Angel’s attention with three blows that snapped ribs. If Angel had needed to breathe, he’d have died in agony. As it was, he still got the agony, and his body gave up any pretense that it might be able to escape what Spike was doing.
Angel was actually glad of Spike’s cock in his ass. Spike fucking him meant that this part was almost over. There’d be blood soon and a little healing. Then, Angel would lie on the floor, unable to move, until Drusilla wandered in to admire Spike’s gift. There’d be more blood then and enough healing that he could move and… be entertaining.
Angel had had to admit, the first time Spike and Drusilla played with him together, that it wasn’t just hunger that made him weak. The ritual had drained him and given the strength to Drusilla. Angel was still stronger than a human, but he was never going to be as strong again as he once had been.
Drusilla liked being stronger. She made a point of pinning Angel’s body against the floor or the wall and then watching his face as he struggled. She called him a poor little wind-up toy.
Spike didn’t give a damn about being physically stronger than Angel. He only cared that Drusilla was.
Spike cared a lot about being smarter than Angel was. Angel might have to accept that as truth, too. Darla had picked Liam for other qualities. Drusilla… Neither Angelus nor Darla had asked why she’d chosen Spike.
Drusilla was fond of Spike, but she didn’t love him, no more than she had loved Angelus or Darla. She controlled Spike, however, in a way she’d never been able to control Angelus, and Spike had given her that because it gave him an edge in securing her attention and affection.
Angelus hadn’t noticed because the human Spike had been had seemed too pathetic to be capable of cunning. Angel wondered if the ways in which he’d destroyed Drusilla as a human before turning her had caused Spike’s deviations from vampiric normal or if it was something strange in the man Spike had been.
Spike was obviously useful and so utterly devoted to Drusilla that Angel understood why Drusilla was holding onto him. Spike’s words about the inconvenience of keeping Angel, however, made Angel deeply uneasy. Drusilla had a reason, but unless Spike was lying-- which was possible-- Spike didn’t know what it was.
Even before she’d been restored to herself, Drusilla had always had a reason. She didn’t always know what it was or share it if she knew, but even Darla had listened if Dru insisted that something would or needed to happen.
Perhaps it was only revenge, only the fact that she couldn’t torture Angelus but could torture a man who looked just like him and who had his memories? Angel didn’t want to think it was that because it made the cycle just a way of playing with him.
It probably was just that, but Angel didn’t want to think it was because it meant that there wasn’t a right thing he could do to make it better. He didn’t actually want to end up chained on a rooftop and waiting for the sun to rise, but that would end.
Deep in his mind, he was terrified that Buffy might come to find him. He wanted rescue, but he was certain that Drusilla wanted a Slayer. Spike had killed one-- two-- after all. Drusilla would do better. Drusilla would break Buffy and then keep her alive so that no further Slayers would be called.
Drusilla would make Angel watch.
Spike would aid and abet if he knew, but he didn’t. If he did, he’d have told Angel. He’d have told Angel because he’d have savored the fear and pain the knowledge brought. He’d have known that Angel’s imagination would do most of the work for him.
Angel’s certainty that Buffy wasn’t dead was becoming less of a comfort and more of a terror.
Some time-- weeks, possibly months and at least four intervals of travel-- after Spike had carved the Celtic knot, Spike came to Angel’s prison. He waited in the doorway, as he always did, for Angel to exhaust himself by struggling against his chains in a vain attempt to attack.
This time, Angel merely blinked at the light and waited. He wanted to believe that he was waiting for a better opportunity, but he knew-- and he was pretty sure that Spike knew-- that it was a surrender. Angel loathed the weakness in his own spirit more than he hated his physical weakness.
Spike’s eyes narrowed. “Won’t get you anything.”
Angel didn’t move.
Spike started laughing. “That makes the next bit better. Dru’s planning to show you off.”
Angel closed his eyes but didn’t let himself react otherwise. Showing him off meant rumors which would reach the Watchers and might reach Buffy and draw her into Drusilla’s trap. Fear of that was like a live wire running up his spine. Buffy was fearless.
Maybe she was dead. That would be better than tortured. Angel hated himself for admitting that. But Buffy hadn’t sinned the way that Angelus had. She didn’t deserve hell.
Angel curled his body in on itself because, if he didn’t, he would start shaking and rocking back and forth. He didn’t want what was coming. That wouldn’t change anything at all about what Drusilla had planned, but Angel wished that this was just going to be Spike beating him.
Angelus had enjoyed the sort of occasions when people let their guests play with their toys, whether they were fallen enemies or simply attractive and disposable humans. Angelus had savored being able to watch suffering offered for his entertainment. He’d never thought that he might end up as the toy.
Angel wondered if pleading might get him something-- not what he asked for. He knew better than that-- but something that might make the next bit easier. He had to force the words out. “I’d rather not.” He didn’t bother trying to make it sound as if he thought Spike cared.
Spike laughed a little longer. “That’s the point, isn’t it?” He leaned on the door frame and lit a cigarette. He watched Angel out of the corner of his eye as he smoked.
And Angel watched Spike. Maybe, for the length of a cigarette, Angel could pretend that nothing was changing.
“I’ll enjoy it,” Spike said when he was halfway through the smoke.
Angel couldn’t stop himself from flinching.
“You’re going to choke and squirm and scream, and I won’t have to lift a finger to make it happen. After, you’ll be wrecked enough to make Dru happy.” Spike’s smile could have chipped diamonds. “She could stop it any time, but we both know she won’t. She also won’t touch you after, not until you’re clean.”
Angel knew his nausea was purely psychological, but somehow that didn’t stop his guts from twisting. Knowing Spike and Drusilla didn’t make anything hurt less, but in some weird way, knowing them made helplessness feel less shameful. They were at least his blood. He’d made them, even if Spike was a generation removed, so he knew that he deserved whatever he got from them.
Angel could pretend that what Spike and Drusilla did was only justice.
“You haven’t looked that horrified any time since we bagged you.” Spike sounded pleased. He crushed his cigarette against the door frame and took two steps into the room. He came down on one knee and put a hand against Angel’s face. “I like it.”
Angel knew the contact was a test. He knew that, if he attacked-- At this range and with the slack he had in the chains, he could hurt Spike before his physical weakness stopped him--
At that point, Spike would beat the shit out of him, and the horrors Angel feared would happen anyway. The test was what Angel would surrender in exchange for having things possibly be slightly less terrible.
He leaned his head a little into Spike’s hand. “Please.” The word burned his throat the way that swallowing holy water would. Angel thought that it was Angelus’s rage trying to choke him.
“Very good,” Spike said. “Very good. You come to heel, and maybe I’ll want to keep you forever the way Drusilla does. You might even start eating regular.” He leaned in and pressed his lips against Angel’s.
Angel didn’t try to stop Spike’s teeth sinking into Angel’s lower lip. He didn’t try to swallow the whimper of pain. Instead, he bundled together everything he had left that might let him resist and shoved it all deep into his mind, somewhere farther down than where Angelus was. He felt Angelus shift to hold it submerged.
If Angel died here, Angelus would, too.
Angelus would let it all resurface if there was ever a need to use it. In the meantime, Angel would become nothing but what Spike and Drusilla wanted. Angel would accept despair.
The tiny package of hope was wrapped in everything he remembered about Buffy. He let go of that, too, because he knew that he couldn’t keep that and still do what he had to. He should have let go of Buffy much sooner because he couldn’t hold her memory and still help her later.
Liam, Angelus, and Angel all held things like that too tight.
When Spike pulled back, Angel flicked his tongue over his lips then said, “Angelus would never.” He could see that Spike understood the unspoken part of that thought.
Spike smiled. “I know. I don’t particularly want Angelus, but keeping him away isn’t my job.”
Angel was almost certain that Spike did want Angelus. He just wanted to be able to take Angelus to pieces the way he had taken Angel to pieces. Then, Spike would kill Angelus, no matter what Drusilla wanted, because Angelus had to be taken seriously.
Angel closed his eyes for a moment. “You just told me how to die.”
“Yeah, but you’ll have to want it real bad because you won’t go easy.”
Angel nodded minutely.
“Blow me,” Spike said. “If you’re eager enough, if you please me enough, I’ll feed you a little before anyone fucks you.”
Angel very deliberately licked his lips again then bowed his head. He kept his eyes on Spike’s knees as Spike got his jeans open and pushed them down far enough to free his half-hard cock. Once Spike had settled again, Angel bent and closed his lips around Spike’s cock. He took the shaft as far into his throat as he could because that was the best way to give Spike the pressure and friction he wanted.
One of Spike’s hands rested on the back of Angel’s head. The other slipped underneath to squeeze Angel’s throat.
Angel had been a vampire for long enough not to panic about not being able to draw in a breath that he didn’t need, so he didn’t struggle, just kept on with the business and wished he was with someone he didn’t hate. He could pretend, sometimes, when he was with Drusilla that all of it was just more of what they’d done when he’d been Angelus. He’d gone down on Dru then. He’d caressed her and teased her and indulged her.
He hadn’t ever-- not once-- indulged Spike. They’d played occasionally for Darla and Drusilla to watch, and that had been good for all four of them, but anything with just Spike and Angelus had always been about Angelus taking because he could, about Angelus making sure that Spike understood his place.
Angelus had been really fucking stupid about Spike.
Angel wished that he could cry. He thought that being human enough for that might make being helpless easier.
Spike fed Angel enough that he didn’t feel wobbly when Spike shoved him into a shower stall. He wasn’t much surprised when Spike came in, too, and started helping Angel wash. It was more testing what Angel would give up than it was Spike giving one good goddamn about how thoroughly clean Angel ended up being.
“Some other time,” Spike said, entirely as he were talking about the weather, “I’m going to see how much I can shove into you at once. How far can your jaws stretch? What’s the biggest bulge I can get?” He pressed one hand against Angel’s belly. “Pretty sure Dru’d like seeing that-- A spell or a machine fucking your ass hard and you with no way to escape the pounding, each stroke showing us exactly how much you have to stretch to take it.”
Angel flinched because he knew Drusilla would like that. Physically, it would probably hurt more than what she and Spike had planned for him tonight, but it would at least just be them.
Just his blood returning.
Spike gave Angel only about three seconds to see the room where Drusilla was entertaining her guests. Then, Spike wound a thin strip of cloth around Angel’s head, covering his eyes. He anchored the cloth to the strap holding the ring gag in place. Spike had allowed Angel to insert the ring himself and to get it settled, but Spike had fastened the strap and placed the earplugs. “You’ll be able to hear me. Nothing else.”
Spike propelled Angel in front of him, through the crowd, not even trying to keep Angel from bumping into people or those people from retaliating with slaps and pinches and claws that tore flesh.
Then Spike pushed Angel down, face first, on a bench and fastened chains and straps to keep him from escaping.
Angel suspected that he was going to be glad of the solid support before much time passed. His legs wouldn’t have held him without the padded wood under his torso. He was already glad that he didn’t breathe or sweat and that his terror wasn’t obvious that way. Not that anyone wouldn’t know, but it mattered that they not see him as human.
For every creature he’d seen in those three seconds, humans were prey.
Then again, they might be gentler if he was human. None of them would want to risk pissing Spike off by breaking Drusilla’s toy. They probably hadn’t realized yet how dangerous Drusilla was, entirely on her own.
The first thing in his ass was slick with what he hoped was lube but rather strongly suspected wasn’t. He couldn’t stop himself from trying to pull away and then shuddering when he couldn’t. He made himself go still for a few seconds and told himself that it was only physical, only discomfort. There would be worse, later. He should be grateful for simple fucking.
He wasn’t. He suspected he never would be. Spike and Drusilla didn’t want him to be.
Then there were clawed fingers in his mouth, testing his teeth, cutting his tongue and gums, and pressing hard against his soft palate. The piercing of his flesh hurt enough that he jerked his head back.
Then Spike’s hand was on the back of Angel’s head again, pressing down on his neck. That hand meant that Angel couldn’t escape the pain, but it also meant an anchor of something known among the blossoming hell of having no way to guess what might be coming. Angel kept struggling, but he had no hope of escape.
The claws retracted then pierced Angel’s flesh again.
In that instant of reprieve, Angel wondered why he was so sure that was Spike’s hand on his neck. Then he wished he hadn’t questioned it because wondering removed the reassurance. Then he heard Spike laughing, and it sounded as if it came from where Angel had thought Spike might be.
Angel wondered if Spike would have been so kind if Angel hadn’t already given up. For a moment, Angel was able to let his upper body go still and stop fighting.
It wasn’t kindness. Angel knew it wasn’t kindness. It was just as close to kindness as Angel was going to get from Spike, and Angel had to cling to something. He pushed back against the hand on his neck and felt relieved when it squeezed lightly in response. Angel couldn’t quite stop a pleading noise.
“Sure,” Spike said. “Makes things more interesting.”
After the first cock was gone, Angel felt something large, hard, and smooth pressing against his asshole. He couldn’t stop his noises of distress as the thing forced him open beyond what he’d imagined taking. Then it was inside him, and his body closed behind it. He could feel the weight of it pressing against his flesh.
A billiard ball. It was probably a billiard ball. Those had always seemed smaller when he was on the other side of things. He whined because there wasn’t much else he could do to protest.
The hand on his neck squeezed again. “It’s more fun fucking a toy like this if there are other things jostling inside.”
Angel knew that that was meant for him, so that he’d know that this wasn’t all that he was likely to end up having forced into his body and left there. He shuddered, and his body went tight as it tried to deny that any of the horrors Angel remembered could happen.
Spike stroked the back of Angel’s head. “Easy,” he said.
The claws in Angel’s mouth retracted, and fingers that felt almost human pressed on the wounds. That continued long enough for another probably billiard ball to go into his ass. Then there was a cock in his mouth instead, one too warm to belong to a vampire. After two more objects, something hard and cold slid into his ass. It wasn’t a cock. It might have been metal or glass. It had ridges that felt sharp.
Angel tried very hard to scream
If Angel’s asshole hadn’t already been torn, this would certainly change that. He was pretty sure that he’d lose control and start bleeding eventually. Probably soon. There was shame in that for a vampire. He hadn’t realized that he still cared about that, but he was going to lose even that basic self-control soon.
Spike made a pleased humming noise. “The toy’s afraid. He’s remembering everything that could happen.”
Angelus growled, deep in Angel’s mind. That growl became a howl as the demon began to understand the part that Angel’s thinking mind hadn’t yet acknowledged.
Angel considered trying to bury that knowledge, too, but it hurt Angelus much more than it hurt any other part of him. Most pain, most shame, had to go through Angel to reach Angelus, but this didn’t. This was entirely about the demon and the things it valued.
Angel could imagine Spike’s expression right then. It wouldn’t be a smile so much as a knife edge of viciousness. Spike had known, before he brought Angel into the room, that he and Drusilla were assassinating Angelus. If the demon ever managed to achieve ascendence over Angel’s soul, it would have lost every scrap of reputation that it had ever built. It would be better off starting over, under a new name.
If he had to do that, he’d need Drusilla… and Spike.
The cock in Angel’s mouth finished its business and was replaced by another. This one tasted of alcohol strong enough to burn. Angel’s shoulders tightened, and he felt the muscles in his back and chest spasm. This cock was bigger and wider, filling more of Angel’s mouth and throat. He started to struggle because he knew what was coming. The burning from skin contact was a warning of things to come.
Spike’s hand stroked Angel’s spine. “Maybe I do see what Dru sees in this one. Something with a little fight. And a lot of ability to heal.”
The cock fucking Angel’s mouth ejaculated.
The burning pain in his mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach didn’t quite ambush Angel, but was worse-- more intense and inescapable-- than he’d thought it would be. This was the point in toying with a human when slow death became certain. Demons could still get a lot of pleasure out of drawing things out after that, but a human wouldn’t survive the toxins left by a coloxn demon’s cock.
A vampire would just wish for death for days after.
He’d have screamed if he could have, and he felt himself going full vamp face. The transformation gave him no relief from the searing pain.
Angel wasn’t particularly surprised that Spike gave him blood after that or that Spike gave him blood three more times before the party ended. Angel was desperate enough each time that he didn’t even care that the blood was human.
After the party ended, Spike took out the earplugs but left Angel blindfolded and chained. He replaced the ring with a ball gag then sprayed Angel with icy water.
Angel was too tired to move. His mouth, throat, and upper torso still burned from the coloxn semen and secretions, and he felt an uncomfortable pressure in his abdomen from the things that Drusilla’s guests had forced into his ass.
Spike had very much enjoyed leaning on Angel’s back so that the bench and Spike’s weight compressed Angel and made him feel every lump and edge and how they all shifted inside his body. It was a tiny, repeated cruelty that emphasized how little Spike cared about or believed in Angel’s new docility.
Spike would hurt Angel because Spike liked it.
Angel was pretty sure that the pressure had also been meant to make him think about how all of those things were coming back out. Angel hoped that it was only going to be Spike and a very sharp knife.
“I saw it,” Drusilla said, sounding pleased.
“That was the point,” Spike replied. “Seeing him like this got you hot and bothered. Got me, too.”
Judging from the sounds and from long familiarity, Angel assumed that they were kissing and getting each other’s clothes off.
Then the sounds stopped.
“I didn’t see this,” Drusilla said. “I just saw the possibility. That night I met you. He thought you were nothing. Darla thought I was nothing. We couldn’t get here straight through, but-- I picked you because you could give me this.”
“Dru--” Spike sounded pained. “No--”
“Let me finish!” Drusilla’s words snapped out with power Angel hadn’t heard since he’d last served the Master. “I couldn’t do it. Angelus could splinter my will but not yours. I want to play with him. I like the way you come to me after. I like when we both play with him. It’s just… He’s yours, not mine. He made me, so I can’t. You can.”
The part of Angel that was Angelus understood exactly what Drusilla meant. He assumed, given the silence that followed, that Spike did, too. Angel hadn’t realized that Drusilla knew that she hated Angelus, that she had always known. He’d destroyed her and then turned her, and she’d had to love him, but she hadn’t forgotten that he’d tortured her.
Darla hadn’t been the only one who lacked imagination. Angelus had missed more important things than Darla ever had, and Angel had hoped, desperately and for decades, that Drusilla was one sin that would never come home to him.
“I can command you, Spike,” Drusilla said in her more usual dreamy tone, “because I made you, but I’d be a fool to waste you that way. I saw that you could. You figured out how to make it happen. I couldn’t have pulled strings for it because I didn’t know.” She laughed. “We could destroy the world. We could rule it. We could dance in any city in the world. The two of us, together, with him on a leash.”
Once again, Angel heard sounds that made him think that Spike and Drusilla were… expressing physical affection. They had each other. They wanted each other. Side by side against whatever else might come.
Angel had nothing, would have nothing, could have nothing. He’d created his own Hell out of the wreckage of two people who’d been worth more as humans than Liam ever had been. The dust that had been Darla was probably laughing at him.
Once again, Angel wished desperately that he had the capacity to weep.