Spike's head was throbbing.
Actually, now he came to think of it, his entire body was throbbing. Like somebody had it in a vice and was pulling and stretching and... oh, right.
Spike groaned as he remembered.
"He's awake again."
The voice came from behind him. Or, at least, Spike thought it did. He felt dizzy and disoriented and sick, very sick.
At that point he became acutely aware of one more thing: hunger.
Desperate, gwawing, ravenous hunger.
He vamped out unintentionally, eliciting a chuckle from the voice behind.
Jeff stepped into view, his face fixed in an expression of determination and hatred which didn't improve any as a smile crossed his lips.
"Welcome back, freak." he taunted, laughing as Spike pulled hopelessly against his restraints. He was still chained, but this time he was on a long, wide table of some sort. His arms and legs were extended and felt as though they were cuffed to the outer corners, and his head was held fast by some sort of collar around his neck. He could move his head very slightly, from side to side, but to move it too far put pressure on his throat and, while he didn't need to breathe, it still prevented any sort of useful movement. He could also feel some restraint across his hips. He tried shifting them, with little effect.
It was at this point that he also realised, as his mind began to clear slightly, that he was naked.
That realisation almost scared him.
He forced the demon back inside him and closed his eyes briefly to control it. These guys clear had the upper hand here, there was no denying that, but he wouldn't give them the satisfaction of seeing him lose control.
"So," Avery came round to his right side, "I've always wondered. Just how much stolen blood can you lose before you, I dunno, die... or dust?" He glanced across to Marcus, who had approached Spike's left to mirror Avery's location. Marcus shrugged.
"I dunno. Depends how much he's drunk, I s'pose. And how much he loses." Avery's face turned from smile to serious in the blink of an eye. "I guess if he bleeds it all out... he'll eventually dust, right?"
Avery was looking at Spike, but Spike wasn't sure if he was expected to answer. He wasn't entirely sure if he could speak at all, given the restrictions on his throat. He chose just to close his eyes instead.
"Open them, William!" Jeff's voice was loud and agitated. "And keep 'em open. Instead of just dustin' you and sendin' you back to Angelus in a box, we got greater plans now."
Spike, not one for usually following commands, instinctively opened his eyes anyway. It was almost as though Angelus had ordered him. The weight carried by the order and the inherent fear that the situation had instilled in him, it all served to make Spike err towards the "being compliant" side.
After all, compliant was better than dusted.
Jeff closed the gap between himself and Marcus, coming up along Spike's left side and extending his arm out, displaying a long, sharp glistening blade.
"Make sure the camera is rolling, Avery." he instructed, nodding towards the corner of the room where, Spike now noticed, stood a tripod with some sort of video camera fixed to it.
Avery walked quickly over to it, glancing around the back before returning to his position along Spike's right side.
"It's on." he answered, looking behind Spike's head as he spoke. Spike noticed both Marcus and Jeff's eyes follow that way also for a split second, and their complete attention on an area which he could not see at all was unnerving to say the least. He clamped his eyes closed, for a split second, to once more hold back the demon, before opening them again and finding all three men with their attention back on him.
He could only assume that whoever was behind him was the fourth man... or whatever he was. Spike still wasn't sure what, but he knew that there was something about him.
Jeff looked towards the video camera, staring straight at it and holding the knife out, ensuring it was in view. He cleared his throat before speaking.
"Angelus," he began. Right, Angelus. Spike now recalled the man mentioning his sire - his unsouled sire - before, when they first jumped him, perhaps? Spike's thoughts were interrupted as Jeff continued.
"You don't know who I am but I know you. You are the monster who killed my wife. My darling Suzette. The love of my life and you killed her, along with our unborn child. I don't expect you to remember, but that isn't the point. You killed my child. And, for that, I intend to get revenge: I have yours. Your family, your grandchilde, the demon YOU created through that bitch."
Jeff paused for a second, closing his eyes against the emotions that flooded through him as he spoke about his lost family.
"Angelus. You will pay for what you have done. You and your so-called family. William here, he and his bitch good as killed Avery's daughter when they turned her. Turned her into a MONSTER. A monster that Avery himself then had to kill. Do you know what that must have been like, Angelus? Do you know what it's like to see you own flesh and blood turned to dust? Do you even care?"
Jeff's voice rose further, and Spike turned to Avery, noting that the man had his gaze fixed firmly on the camera, blank and expressionless.
Jeff carried on.
"They say you have a soul now. That you are a champion for good. They said you had a soul before, that you had just lost it "temporarily" when you murdered my Suzette. But guess what? I DON'T FUCKING CARE."
Jeff was leaning towards the camera now, his face contorted into an expression of extreme rage and anger.
"It is all I can do not to just rip this monster of yours apart."
Jeff turned to Spike, the knife almost shaking in his hand.
"And I will... I'll do it. If you don't come to me yourself. You'll know where. Details will come with this video. Come to us alone or I will kill your child as cold-heartedly as you murdered mine."
Jeff lowered the knife, letting the tip pierce Spike's skin just above his right nipple. He pulled the blade roughly across Spike's chest before lifting it and crossing it with line down his torso, carving a large cross onto Spike's front.
Spike's demon rose as the knife burned through his flesh, and he growled at the three men he could see, his body writhing on the table. Something wasn't right. The burn; the cut; the blood. It wasn't right. There was something about it that made Spike's demon howl.
Jeff laughed out loud, the sound echoing through the hollow of the room before he calmed and turned back to camera.
"24 hours, Angelus."