Heat; fire; agony; blinding pain. Cutting; searing through him.
It almost felt like it was happening to somebody else; as if Spike was hovering over himself, watching it all... until he came crashing back down and felt it. Really felt it, in every nerve ending and every cell in his body.
He pulled at the chains with a roar that would have woken the dead and undead alike, as he twisted and turned in an effort to avoid the knife.
More fire as it effortlessly swept across from hip to hip. So close. Dangerously close to... Spike didn't allow himself to even think it.
Jeff stepped back, admiring his handiwork, and Avery and Marcus approached Spike's sides from their positions of observation.
"I think that's enough for now." Jeff announced coldly. Avery nodded as he examined the carvings. They weren't deep. The Garchen's knife didn't need much pressure to break skin and cause irreparable damage. He could just make out what had been traced with the tip in amongst the rivers of blood that flowed freely from the markings.
In addition to the cross that Jeff had carved on camera, Spike's torso now displayed a large letter S, for Suzette, an equally large J, for Avery's daughter Jess, and a symbol that ran from hip to hip and looked like a key on its side. It was a symbol found on the Garchen's knife, and it supposedly ensured that the knife's powers remained active, preventing complete healing for the remainder of the victim's life (or unlife, in Spike's case).
It was this symbol, when sliced through the delicate flesh of Spike's abdomen, that had brought Spike out of his vampire healing deep sleep. The creation of it caused the most agonising pain from which some were rumoured to have suffered fatal heart attacks. If Spike'd had a heart, of course... He was condemned to pass out instead.
Jeff had been careful though, cutting precisely and smoothly, and he now nodded to himself, satisfied that he had done what was required.
From his position behind Spike's head, the Reacher stepped forwards, cocking its head sideways as it examined the marks. Avery and Marcus stepped back with a respectful nod, allowing the Reacher to circle their captive.
"Nice work." he hissed, running a finger through the darkening blood that was now running in rivulets down Spike's sides and pooling on the stone table. He lifted bloodied fingers to his lips, brushing over them with his tongue, to the disgust of the onlooking humans.
"Very nice." he purred. "Very powerful vampire."
The Reacher nodded, impressed. He had taken something of a back seat to the whole operation, after sourcing the knife for three men who had approached him one evening saying he had been "recommended" to them. He had been contracted to find a suitable location to which they could bring Spike, to locate the Garchen's knife and to remain present in case his powers had been required. He had found Spike quite easy to confuse, in fact. The addition of his human soul had ensured that the Reacher's "reach" was deeper than if he had remained a true soulless vampire.
The Reacher suspected that Spike could be, if needed, remarkably suggestible. He kept that information to himself, as security.
The three men had done well though. They had acted with far more callousness and determination than the Reacher would have thought possible by mere humans, never hesitating or backing down from what needed to be done. Vengeance was a powerful thing.
The Reacher slipped back into position behind Spike, and Avery and Marcus once more took their positions either side. Avery glanced at his watch before turning to Jeff.
"Do you think Angelus will come?" He'd been certain, when they started. Certain that Angelus would rush in to rescue his grand-childe within minutes of receiving the video message. As time went on and the hours ticked by however, he began to wonder. Where was the possessive Angelus come to claim what was his? The vicious killer hell-bent on vengeance?
Jeff thought for a while before slowly nodding.
"I have to admit, I thought he'd be here sooner, but I'm certain he'll come. If this William is as powerful as you say he is, Angelus won't let him go without a fight. I'm sure of it."
The Reacher made a sudden and loud inhuman noise. Something between a barking laugh and a purr. The unusual nature of the sound caused all three men to turn to him with questioning looks. He raised his hands placatingly.
"My apologies, gentlemen." he began, his tone returning to human as he spoke, "I forget my company."
Marcus shrugged. "Don't matter to us, Reacher." Avery nodded, and Jeff held up a hand dismissively.
"You're right about Angelus though." the Reacher continued, composing himself, "He will come. Even ensouled, he feels for this vampire. I can sense it within him."
As he spoke, the Reacher extended a hand and brushed it across Spike's face, his ridges having softened as his vampiric healing sleep attempted to fix the damage.
"I sense many unlikely bonds with this one too. Not just with his sire. Grand-sire." he corrected himself, "There are numerous human bonds too. I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise though. This vampire is souled and has worked alongside humans for some time."
"A mate?" Marcus asked curiously. Could a vampire even mate with a human? He supposed that both species shared the same anatomy, but the mere thought of it made his stomach turn, and his face reflected his revulsion.
"A human mate?" This wasn't something the Reacher had considered. He tipped his head, trying to reach into the vampire's mind a little more. The deep, almost meditative sleep that Spike was currently in made reaching him easier, but his mind was a jumble of images and feelings, and a Reacher's talents usually lay more in the controlling and suggesting than actually reading. After a few moments of silence, the Reacher shook his head.
"I don't believe so." He couldn't be certain. Maybe it had just been a long time, but he couldn't grasp any human mating connection within Spike's mind. Time faded these things though. Time and trauma. And this vampire had seen a lot of both.
Jeff cleared his throat authoritatively.
"Right, it's nearly time up for Angelus. Avery and Marcus, take your positions outside. I'll keep watch on the door. Reacher, you know what to do?"
The Reacher nodded, and Avery, Marcus and Jeff all headed down the corridor to lay in wait.
Angelus would be coming soon, and they'd need to be ready for him when he did.