The Price

BY : Immortal_katharina99
Category: AtS/BtVS Crossovers > Slash - Male/Male > Spike(William)/Xander > Spike(William)/Xander
Dragon prints: 10241
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

I remember the first time I saw them to together. Well I suppose I don't, but there's no point dwelling on that now is there? I decided a long time ago that I can either accept that the memories that I have are the memories that I have or I can spend the rest of my life obsessing about how I was brought into this world. After all what makes a person what they are if not the sum total of their experiences? Still intellectually I know none of it ever happened.

I know I've only actually been flesh and blood for a few years, but some of the images that the monks implanted in me are just so potent, that sometimes I find myself forgetting that the actual events never took place. Like, for example, the first time I saw them together.

I'd woken up in the middle of the night because some kind of noise had pulled me from a light sleep, probably a cat knocking over a trash can or something like that. I'd gone to the bathroom and noticed that Buffy wasn't in her room. Okay so by ‘noticed’, I actually mean that I’d carefully turned the door knob to her bedroom door and inched it open carefully so I wouldn’t wake her or Mom, but that’s semantics. The point is that her bed was still made. So I'd tiptoed down stairs under what I thought at the time was the Mom proof pretence of getting a glass of water. I was maybe ten or eleven years old at the time. Then I'd spied them outside in the shadows together behind one of the big old trees planted in the front yard. His arms were wrapped around her tiny waist. He completely dwarfed her. It was one of those dramatic picture perfect kisses like the kiss in that V–J day in Times Square photo from Life magazine. I think that that’s probably the exact moment my crush on Angel started. I remember thinking that he was the most handsome man I’d ever seen when their lips finally parted and I got my first look at those striking features bathed in the soft glow of a partial moon. The fact that he was tall, mysterious and Buffy’s friends whispered just a little bit dangerous only cemented my childish idolization.

Worshiping men in love with Buffy seems to have been a theme for me. I suppose its normal, little girls want to get to do what their cooler older sisters do. If only I’d known then… I certainly got far more than I ever bargained for.

It was different this time around. The last time Angelus had been loose, he’d been completely and totally out of control. His rage over having been trapped behind his soul for a century had absolutely overwhelmed him. Not that Angelus had ever been all that stable to begin with. From what I'd managed to glean from the other Scooby’s hushed conversations he'd always been more interested with his own special twisted version of performance art, than he’d ever been in self-preservation, but once he’d been released from the curse he’d been totally obsessed with tormenting Buffy. I once overheard Giles says that he thought Angelus wanted to make her as crazy as Dru, before he killed her. From what I’ve been told he very nearly succeeded.

Angelus’ reign of destruction didn’t start out with any macabre little displays of affection this time. No dead goldfish or pointless standoffs in public places. There weren’t any mind games when they came after us. It was a well planned surgical strike. Angelus was able to walk right in. We’d never bothered to revoke his invitation after he left Sunnydale; but, then it had never occurred to us that the guys at Angel Investigations would be stupid enough to release him again. I know that I’m not really being fair. I’ve talked to Gunn and I understand that they were desperate, but God damn it they could have at least warned us, but they didn’t even do that and we let him walk right into our living room.

We were expecting them for goodness sake. Wesley had freaking called ahead, because he ‘needed’ Willow’s help with a particularly old and rare spell. He’d oh so diplomatically suggested that it might be best for all concerned if Spike were out of the house when they arrived. Spike and Angel still didn’t have the easiest relationship and there was no use inviting a confrontation between the two Master Vampires. It was still hard enough for Angel to be around Buffy, add Spike to the mix... Well that could only lead to unnecessary bloodshed. We were so moronic. We had them come over when Spike and Buffy were out patrolling. Willow had baked cookies for them.

It feels horrible to say this, but I wish he’d just ripped out Wesley’s throat. I just know down to the marrow of my bones that if Angelus hadn’t created that conniving asshole, that all of this could have been avoided. I know that Pryce is the one that engineered the Scooby gang’s downfall. It showed too much forethought and finesse for Angelus. A guy who nails puppies to trees is not exactly what I’d call subtle. It’s not that Angelus is incapable of planning; you only have to read the Watcher Diaries about him to know that that isn’t the case. I do however believe that he’s too much of a hedonist to see all the repercussions of say taunting Buffy for months rather than taking her by surprise when he had the chance. That bastard Pryce though had no such shortcoming. He made sure that he and his new Daddy played out their Machiavellian plan to perfection.

My sister’s ex had managed to turn Giles’ once pathetically inadequate replacement into his very own high Lord Chancellor or something. When he’d first been released from the gypsy curse he’d been dangerous, but now that he had Pryce loyally seeing to running the day to day operations of his hellish new little Kingdom, he’d made himself almost untouchable. His mastermind managed to build him an Empire on my family’s blood.

Sometimes I think that maybe if we’d still had Tara it wouldn’t have been so easy for them. That she would have been able to see that we were dealing with two soulless monsters and not our friends. She’d managed to recognise that an imposter was using Buffy’s body, so just maybe she would have seen it in their auras or something. But that’s something we’ll never know, I guess. It makes me hate Warren Mears even more, as if I needed any other reason.

Angel had been able to just calmly stroll up our walk and politely knock on our front door. He’d flashed me that sad little kicked puppy smile of his when I’d opened the door. When I asked about Wesley, he just looked over his shoulder and tilted his head towards the open rear passenger door of his boxy old Plymouth. Why a vampire would choose to drive a convertible, I’ll never understand. Wes had pulled a huge pile of books, scrolls and notebooks out of the back seat and in typical fashion had promptly dropped them all over our driveway. Angel had just shaken his head, smiling indulgently before crossing our threshold and asking me how school was going this year.

I distinctly remember Willow’s smile as she made her way over to Angel. Then ‘Wesley’ lost the top of his newly restacked pile, again, and I’d decided to take pity on the poor guy just as Willow walked up to her killer with open arms. Like an idiot, I willingly joined a newly sired vampire outside of the protective barrier of our house. In retrospect it all seems so obvious now, a million little things about them that should have seemed off. Like the fact that Wesley Wyndam-Pryce had still seemed to be the same awkward by the book academic that we’d all so easily dismissed years before, despite having fought alongside Angel for nearly four years.

Willow didn’t even have time to mutter even the beginnings of a spell when they finally attacked. Angelus had stood there quietly exchanging greetings with her, just long enough for me to get within arm’s reach of his brand new baby fledge. They struck pretty much at the same time. There weren’t any big threats or gloating speeches. One second I could hear Angel telling Willow about how Cordelia was doing and the next he was ripping her throat out. I was in shock, frozen in place for a couple of horrific seconds. That was all my attacker needed. I didn’t even see Pryce move until he was on top of me. I didn’t have a stake on me, or any sort of weapon for that matter. At that point, I think that I would have settled for a fork or better yet a chopstick to stab him with.

Unfortunately for us our two vampire attackers had come prepared. I wish I could make myself forget the gruesome picture of Willow’s head lilting to the side exposing her mangled throat. I started to struggle in earnest when I saw Angelus bring his forearm towards his own fangs and realized what he was about to do. I felt the prick of the needle piercing my skin just as I saw him force his bloody wrist my friend’s mouth. The last thing I remember before losing consciousness was a shocked shriek coming from inside the house. Apparently our guestage had ventured up from where we’d stashed him in the basement.

I woke up hours later in a dark cold cellar. I noticed that I was actually chained to the floor by an ankle, as soon as I started moving around. It was so dark that it took me a moment longer to realize that I wasn’t alone. A big bald African American guy was sprawled down about three feet to my left. It was pretty obvious that someone or something had used him as a glorified punching bag and pretty recently too. He was eyeing me critically, probably trying to decide if this was some sort of trick. Apparently I passed the test.

“You all right?” he asked me, his voice sounded hoarse. He shuddered, hugging an arm to his ribs.

“No offence, but I think I should be asking you that question.”

He chuckled darkly. “You’re probably right, kid, What’s your name?”

I hesitated for a just a second, but figured if this was some sort of trap he likely already knew anyway. “It’s Dawn.”

“Gunn,” he introduced himself.

“Seriously? What kind of name is Gunn? It’s not some sort of stupid macho street name is it?” I asked him suspiciously. Actually, it sounded like some idiotic vampire nom de guerre.

“No,” he told me shaking his head. “I’ve got to stop introducing myself that way. It’s my last name. I’m Charles Gunn, but mostly I just go by Gunn,” he laughed. “So what the Hell does Angelus want with you kiddo? Well aside from you know...”

“How should I know?” I replied defensively. I remember thinking what the Hell does he mean by ‘you know’, and then I looked down at myself. Those undead creeps had changed my clothes while I’d been out. Someone had stripped me and changed me into a frilly ridiculous looking blush coloured baby doll. I found myself praying that it had been Wesley or one of the minions. The idea of Angelus taking off my clothes and re-dressing me in lingerie made me want to heave.

I took some doing, but I managed to pull myself out of my mini freak-out. I needed answers. And I wanted to know a little more about this guy before I started divulging all the Scooby gang’s secrets. “What about you? And how do you know about Angelus?”

“Was part of his crew, I’ve been working for the great vamp detective off and on for almost three years now,” the handsome man revealed. He tried to give me what I’m pretty sure was supposed to be a reassuring smile, but the effect was ruined by his shattered lip.

“How did this happen? Some sort of soul sucking demon? Did one of Angel’s enemies do this?” I asked, anxious for information.

“No,” he shook his head in self disgust. “It was us, we let him out. We thought we could control him.”

“You what?” I’m not ashamed to admit it, I lost it. “You FUCKING what?” Buffy would have flipped hearing me use that kind of language, not to mention Mom if she’d still been alive.

“You read a newspaper lately little girl? LA’s in permanent black out. It’s an all you can eat buffet out there! That psychotic looser was our last hope. Vamps and demons we’re coming in from out of town. People were trapped in their homes running slowly running out of food. He was our only hope,” Gunn hissed angrily.

“How’s that working out for you so far?” I snapped back sarcastically.

“Considering most of the others no longer have a pulse, I’d say pretty damned bad. Look It’s not like we sent Angel out for hookers and blow, kid. We got some intel that Angelus had some inside information on the Beast, the magma demon that was responsible for blocking out the Sun. Angel couldn’t remember, we tried everything we could think off. We were out of options. We took precautions. It’s not like we let him roam around free, we had him locked up. We knew what we were doing was dangerous. We should have listened to Angel. God, he was dead set against this. But we managed to convince him to do it. We guilt tripped him is more like it. We were all set to re-ensoul him when the shit hit the fan,” the injured man sighed, cradling his side.

“So what happened?” I asked, curious in spite of myself.

“Someone stole his soul,” he answered his eyes filling with anger and betrayal.

“How does someone steal a soul exactly?” I wanted to know. As far as I knew when Angelus wasn’t Angel, the soul just sort of floated around in the Ether.

“We had this shaman extract it for us. He had it sealed in a mystical jar. We locked it up at the hotel in the safe, but when we went to get it so the shaman could restore it, it was gone,” he explained blandly.

“Someone stole the jar?” I demanded incredulously. I hadn’t occurred to the Fang Gang to have someone guard the damn thing?

“Someone stole the jar,” he nodded morosely.

“Why?” I insisted.

“Don’t know, but if I ever make it to Hell I’ll ask the bitch,” he replied darkly.

“But who would?” I needed to know, someone who would willingly prevent Angelus from being locked away again was definitely a threat that Buffy needed to be aware off.

“Cordelia, or rather whatever came back in her place,” he grunted, obviously in pain. “She’s dead now. He killed her.”

“Oh my God,” I gasped. Not that she and I had ever been close, but she’d been Xander’s girlfriend. I’d known her for years. Sort of. I couldn’t imagine the former cheerleader willingly letting Angelus loose on the world. She’d been around the first time Angelus had been unleashed. She, more than anyone else in L.A. knew what he was capable of.

“Yeah, well it turns out that letting him out of his cage wasn’t such a hot idea,” he grumbled. We both jumped when we heard the door creak open.

“Oh I don’t know Charlie boy, I’d say it worked out pretty well. I got myself a whole new family. And I think we might even end up making an even better Scourge then my last little brood. By the way Pryce and Winifred asked me to send their regards! They’ll be looking in on you real soon,” Angelus taunted, sauntering down the stairs. I didn’t know what Angelus was talking about at the time. It makes be sick remembering it now. Gunn tried to hide his shiver of disgust, but couldn’t totally suppress a shudder.

“What do you want Angelus?” I snapped, trying to put on a brave front. Well, it wasn’t totally a front, I knew that my big sister would come for me. It just never occurred to me that she would lose, not even after seeing what he’d done to Willow.

“Oh I don’t know, world domination, your sister dead, for someone to torture Barry Manilow to death slowly and painfully? All of the above? But right now I’m here for you sweet thing. It’s time for your close up,” he grinned, grabbing my ankle with his free hand before reaching into his pocket for the key to my ankle cuff.

“Leave the kid out of this, you crazy blood sucker,” the injured man demanded. It probably would have been more effective if he hadn’t looked half dead at the time.

“Ah, and the dashing hero speaks. Seems to me last time you tried to save the damsel in distress it didn’t work out so well Charlie. So if I were you I’d shut the Hell up before I decide that you’re lonely down here and opt to set you up with some companionship. I’m sure some of the new boys would be willing to... spend some quality time with you,” the master vampire snarled angrily.

“Fuck you, asshole. You can’t keep me down here forever. Eventually I’ll get out and when I do I’m ramming a stake right up your fat undead ass,” Gunn spat out belligerently. He was brave, I had to give him that.

“So glad I didn’t kill you boy. I’m going to enjoy watching my little ones break you,” Angelus smirked nastily, as he reached down to unchain me. “As much has I’d like to continue our little chat, Dawnie here and I have a date.” My injured companion continued yelling out obscenities as the master vampire dragged me to my feet and practically carried me up the stairs. I tried to struggle, but I might as well have been fighting a mountain for all the good it did me.

I was blinded for a minute as Angelus steered me out of the basement and into a sparsely furnished hall. The light was actually very dim, but after the near total darkness of the basement my eyes had a difficult time adjusting.

“Is everything ready?” Angelus asked, steering me into a large mostly empty room. I couldn’t help but notice the shackles hanging off the far wall. I recoiled as Wesley silently fell into step beside us.

“Yes, everything is in place. Winifred just reported in and everything is going according to schedule. The Slayer and Spike have split up as we expected. Your meddlesome grandchilde should be occupied for at least the next half hour. By the time he gets Harris out and makes it back here the excitement should already be over, that’s if he even manages to find him before the little pillock suffocates. The more Harris struggles the more quickly he’ll expend his limited air supply. The Slayer should be here momentarily. I would suggest you restrain the girl before then, Sire,” the former watcher replied smoothly. I wanted to ask what they’d done to Xander, but Angelus never gave me the chance.

“He’s a bossy little thing,” he drawled in a ridiculous stage whisper. “But he has such good ideas. Now how’s about we experiment with a little bondage, Baby?”

“You’re disgusting!” I spat back, futilely resisting as he dragged me towards the back wall. He just laughed.

“Awe, come on, Darling don’t say that before you’ve even tried it,” the muscular vampire mocked, wrapping his powerful fingers into my hair and dragging me towards the back wall. I wasn’t able to stop him from lifting my arms up and shackling me in place. He kissed me for the first time. It was vicious, his tongue invading my mouth. There’s no doubting that soul or no Angel is physically attractive, I’d be a hypocrite to claim otherwise. There were times in the following months when I let myself dwell on that, let my mind trick itself into believing that I was with someone else. The first time his lips touched mine though, I was more repulsed than I ever have been in my life. The harsh reality was nothing like my juvenile schoolgirl fantasies. One of his hands snaked up between us and squeezed my left breast. I just stood there sputtering, too shocked to respond. “You stay right there. I’ll be back later, and then you and I can get to know each other better, much better.”

I hadn’t really let my gaze drift over the room until just then, but I was shocked when I realized exactly how many of them there were. This wasn’t a handful of bored fresh from the ground fledges they’d picked up at the cemetery or trolling for unsuspecting prey at the Bronze. Angelus had managed to amass a small army. Not just vampires either, but demons of all shapes and sizes. To this day I still have no idea how he managed to gather so many minions in such a short time. I remember a shiver running through me, a full body shudder.

He swaggered off towards his childe, half turning for a moment and blowing me a mocking kiss, before turning his full attention to the undead Brit he’d sired. He listened to the slimmer vampire attentively for a few minutes, nodding every once in a while at something Pryce said. Even though they weren’t standing that far away from me, I wasn’t able to make out any of what they were saying. I kept straining to hear, but they whispered in such low tones that only someone who shared their enhanced senses could have overheard. The artificial chirp of a cell phone finally broke the near total silence. Wesley nodded to his Master and I watched as Angelus’ army of minions came alive. Well as alive as an evil army half made up of the undead can be at any rate.

A particularly large blue and purple scaled demon leered at me as it leaned against the wall about fifteen feet away. Deciding to show off to his companions, he made to step towards me, but wisely backed away when Angelus’ moved back to my side and turned his gaze towards the encroaching demon promising grim retribution. He latched onto my hair and forced my lips to his again, plundering my mouth in a possessive display which I quickly realized had more to do with marking me as his personal property than any desire he had felt for me at that particular moment. Cowed, my new suitor turned away, making a show of ignoring me.

I heard Buffy before I actually saw her or more accurately I heard the mayhem that she caused as she carved a path through Angelus’ lackeys. The sound of growling and screeching filled the air. I could hear the noise of flesh violently pounding on flesh and of bones breaking as they connected with my sister’s fists. A fledgling standing straight across the room blocking my line of sight exploded into a cloud of dust and suddenly Buffy was there.

She said my name and I breathed a sigh of relief. She froze for a moment when she saw me, her face filling with fury and determination. I didn’t hear the whoosh of the shot from the tranquilizer gun, but I saw the look of surprise on Buffy’s face when it hit her. She looked down and pulled the dart out of her arm, tossing it aside carelessly.

“You’ll have to do better than that Angelus,” she hissed angrily, “let Dawn and Willow go and I might consider letting you get out of Sunnydale alive, for old time’s sake.”

“Buffy...” I tried to warn her. She’d be devastated when she found out about Willow.

“But Darling, I was just about to get to know your little Dawn a lot better. She’s grown up so fast and so pretty,” the handsome vampire sneered, stepping away from me so my older sister could get a good view of the sleazy getup he had me in. “As for Willow, I know it’s hard to accept Buff, but she’ll be happier amongst her own kind. Isn’t that right, Sweetheart?”

“Yes, Daddy. I’m sure I’ll be much happier here with you,” Willow’s voice sing-songed nastily, a group of minions stepping aside to reveal her. I gasped when I saw her. She was dressed in black from head to toe. Her hair was artfully pinned up except for a couple of strands that flowed freely over shoulders left nude by the satin corset top she was wearing. She reminded me of the descriptions I’d heard of that vampire version of her that had visited us a few years ago from that alternate universe, only more put together. I’d only ever seen Willow walk with that much confidence once before, the day Tara had died, when she’d almost destroyed the world.

“Willow, oh God, no,” Buffy whispered. I think my sister aged twenty years in that one second. She didn’t let it faze her though. Closing her eyes a second, she took a deep breath, steadying herself, before she stepped towards Angelus. She didn’t even glance at the two young vampires she dispatched along the way. “You’re dust,” she promised grimly, before kicking out and hitting him square in the jaw.

He staggered back, laughing. “You know, I bet you’re wondering if it was wise leaving William to fetch your doughnut boy. Poor little Xander trapped all alone in a tiny little box in the dark. You remember what that was like don’t you, Buffy? Waking up to find yourself buried alive. Could you feel the lid of the coffin pressing down on you?” he smiled viciously showing his true face and punching her with brutal force.

She retaliated by hitting him back just as viciously. “Shut up,” she snapped, landing a kick to his chest forcing him back a couple of steps.

“Course you had the benefit of super strength. You were able to break free. Your boy doesn’t have that luxury. Awe come on darling, chin up, there’s a chance that old Spikey might be able to dig him out in time. Depends on how much air he has left. If he was a smart boy and didn’t waste all his oxygen struggling trying to get out or panicking, he might still be alive,” the muscular vampire chuckled. This time when she hit him he barely moved.

She swung again aiming a nasty right hook at the side of her adversary’s head. Angelus caught her fist mid swing.

“What?” Buffy gasped in pain, dropping the stake she’d been carrying and folding in to her knees. “About time, Pryce,” he complained, grabbing her other arm and forcing her back to her feet. “Were you hoping she’d have time to stake me before this stuff kicked in?”

“I did warn you that the effects would not be instantaneous, Sire,” the younger vampire replied tonelessly from somewhere to my left, refusing to be baited.

“What did you do to me?” She demanded struggling in his grip.

“Nothing that hasn’t been done to you before, having your very own sullied watcher is useful as it turns out,” he smirked.

“Cruciamentum,” she whispered in horror. “But it took hours for the drugs to take effect last time.”

“Yes, well fortunately we now hold a very talented scientist amongst our numbers. She was able to synthesize a much more potent version of the formula,” Wesley explained in a bored tone. There was a ruckus coming from the other room and I felt the stirrings of hope when I heard Xander’s voice, followed by Spike’s telling someone to “Sod off”. Shaking his head the vampire who’d previously been Wesley Wyndham-Pryce calmly barked some orders to some of the demons standing to our left. A group of about a dozen large demons made their way towards the other room.

“I really am going to miss you Buffy,” Angelus said wistfully, right before digging his fangs into her throat.

I started screaming her name over and over, fighting against the shackles, but it was too late. The life was already being drained out of my sister.

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