Unliving Conditions

BY : Brakers
Category: -Buffy the Vampire Slayer > Het - Male/Female > Buffy/Spike(William) > Buffy/Spike(William)
Dragon prints: 297
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel the Series or any of the characters therein and I gain no profit from writing these stories.

AN: A note on Buffy’s characterization. I based Vamp!Buffy on her soulless persona in “Living Conditions.” Bitchy, uninhibited, but still essentially Buffy. She still patrols, still has big feelings, still feels responsible for the safety of others, and still loves her friends. I kind of see it as moving her moral alignment from Lawful Good to Neutral Good.

This is a response to Off Your Bird's challenge “Unliving Conditions" on Elysian Fields, and is also being posted there. My penname there and on A03 is MrsAkers. Credit for the spark for this story goes to her. 

Beta'd by Aspasia

***

Chapter 1- The Fledgling 

“You know, I was just going to kill you. But I think instead, I’ll turn you. I always wanted a little pet slayer.”

Those were the last, haunting words Buffy heard before the blood loss finally pulled her into oblivion under a curtain of stringy, bottle blonde hair.

And then, she woke up. And she was still the Slayer. Sunday obviously had been too stupid to finish the job, which was lucky for Buffy and really unlucky for the goth wannabe vampire.

Buffy stood and looked around the gross little nest that the undead college dropouts had made for themselves. And there was the queen of the dropouts herself, sitting on a zebra-print throne that totally clashed with the whole Fairuza Balk vibe she was going for. “A vampire who wears all black? How original,” she said, reaching for the stake she always kept in her waistband. Except, it wasn’t there.

Sunday smirked at her and gestured to Buffy’s outfit. “And bubblegum pink is supposed to strike fear into the hearts of coeds?” she asked in a bored fashion.

“I don’t need to scare coeds. Just grotty vampires,” Buffy snarked. Then she looked down at her jacket which, gross, had bloodstains on the lapel. “You ruined my box coat! Do you have any idea how hard it is to get blood out of velvet?” She glanced at the vampire and pulled a face. “Oh, right. You probably do.”

“Little girl,” Sunday practically purred, standing now to step down and circle her. Buffy watched her warily, keeping one eye on her and one on her grinning nestmates eyeing the two girls like they were about to see a show. Well, she’d give them a show, if that’s what they wanted.

There! In the corner! A convenient wooden crate. She nearly rolled her eyes at their stupidity. If she were a vampire, she definitely wouldn’t keep any easily-smashed wood furniture around. She surreptitiously stepped back toward it, keeping her front towards Sunday.

“You don’t seem to realize what kind of position you’re in. You’re my little pet now, don’t you see?” she asked, stroking a finger over Buffy’s cheek as she circled her. Buffy’s lip curled up and she growled at the vampire. And wow, since when was growling so satisfying? She should do it more often.

“And you’re being a bad little doggy,” Sunday said, and she actually smacked Buffy on the nose like she was a dog.

“Oh, that’s it!” Buffy lisped, and took a swing at the vampire. And unlike last night, or whenever she’d last fought her, she was pretty fuzzy on how long she’d been knocked out, she actually made contact. Sunday was fast, fast and brutal, but it seemed she’d been caught off guard. Buffy had a millisecond to admire the look of shock on Sunday’s face before she went flying into the wall behind her.

And then it was on. The others descended on her with threats and curses, but Buffy was well and truly in a groove. It was effortless to dodge, punch, duck, sweep a leg, catch an unsuspecting chin with a lightning fast uppercut. These vamps were lame with a capital L. How the hell had they gotten the better of her last night? Now, it was like swatting flies. Buffy had never been so on top of her game.

In short order she’d ripped the head off one of them with her bare hands (why had she never tried that method before, because seriously? It was fun!), staked three more with the splinters of the smashed crate, and finished Sunday off just as she was screaming something about not going against her sire.

Buffy spun the splintered plank in her hand and tucked it into her waistband. It was no Mr. Pointy, but it would do until she could get back to her dorm. With a mournful pout for her ruined coat, she swiped the dust off her clothes and looked around.

“Hey! That bitch stole my clothes!” she gasped and knelt beside an overflowing cardboard box, reverently pulling out her Class Protector umbrella. “And Mr. Gordo!” she said, pulling her stuffed pig to her chest. “What the hell?” she said, looking around at all of her stolen belongings. She sighed in frustration and placed the items back into the box, deciding to leave it for now. She’d have to get the Scoobs to help her move everything back to her dorm. If they even would. Willow was so busy being Miss University and Giles was busy banging his special friend and Xander was touring America… Maybe mom could help her.

With one last look around, Buffy left the dilapidated building. When she got outside it took her a moment to figure out where she was. And also, for some reason, her surroundings were just really distracting. The trees that were swaying in the breeze like a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of vibrant emeralds, dipped in silver moonlight. She stepped closer to the trees lining the sidewalk and laid a hand on the rough bark. She could feel things crawling under the bark, hear the twitching scrape of little legs. The tree was warm with residual sunlight. She took a deep breath in through her nose and had the wild thought that she could smell the recent sunset.

Ok. So the vampires had obviously drugged her. Geez, she really needed to get home. This was not good.

Shaking her head, Buffy returned to the walkway and hurried along, trying to ignore the very pleasant scent of warm concrete. If she was ever pressured into trying drugs again (she was a good girl and had only ever tried weed once when she was fourteen and that was because Greg Pattinson had peer pressured her into it), she would remember right now, thinking how lying down on the sun warmed sidewalk under the cool night sky sounded like heaven.

She’d made it half way across the campus when she heard a scuffle from just the other side of some hedges. Buffy stopped and listened intently.

A growl. A pounding heart. A heady, delicious scent permeated the air.

Ok, seriously, she couldn’t really hear a heartbeat. There was no way some crazy college vampire drugs could make her hear somebody’s heartbeat, right? And then she rolled her eyes and laughed under her breath as the obvious occurred to her. Of course. She was hearing her own heartbeat in her ears. God, this stuff was really getting to her.

Slipping her makeshift stake back into her hand, Buffy easily leapt over the bushes and onto the grassy quad where a couple sat with their backs to her on a wooden bench. She might have thought they were just making out, if she were any other oblivious human citizen living on the hellmouth.

“Hey! Didn’t your mother teach you to share?” she quipped. Then stopped and shook her head. Oh, gross! She took a moment to pout about the fact that the drugs were messing with her normally spot-on quipping abilities. Her stomach suddenly cramped with hunger. Something around here smelled amazing. Must be the munchies. She’d have to dust this vamp quick and find something to eat. Maybe mom would have some leftovers in the fridge. Some of her homemade spaghetti with red sauce would be amazing right now. Or maybe tomato soup.

The vampire raised her head to look at Buffy with golden eyes and a chill ran down her spine. Something thrilling. Something different. Blood ran down the thing’s chin. “I don’t share with little pissants like you. You’ve still got blood on your collar.” The vampire laughed like she was making fun of Buffy, which Buffy just didn’t get. What right did a vampire have to make fun of somebody for having blood on their clothes? Wasn’t that sort of their whole fashion scope?

The coed in the vampire’s arms groaned and slouched to the side. Buffy’s eyes zeroed in on the dark liquid oozing down his neck. She took in a ragged breath and forcefully turned her gaze back to the vampire. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly filled with saliva.

“Can we just get on with this? I’m really hungry,” Buffy said, abandoning all interest in dragging out the fight for a little exercise. She’d gotten her exercise for the night already while dusting that nest of losers. And even though her body was still coursing with pent up violence, which would normally carry her through all seven of Sunnydale’s extensive boneyards and the alleys behind the bars on the bad side of town to boot, right now all she could think about was hunger. And the fact that she was so interested in this kid’s bleeding neck was just giving her all kinds of wiggage.

The vampire growled possessively over her meal. “I said back off, fledge.”

“Fledge? Ok, now you’re just being ridiculous. If you won’t stand up and face your dusting like a woman, I’ll just have to bring the dustage to you.” And that’s exactly what Buffy did.

The vampire fell easily under her stake and Buffy briefly considered naming her new weapon. It wasn’t much, and had nothing on Mr. Pointy, but its dust count just in one night was pretty impressive. She tucked the thing back into her waistband and went to check on the kid.

“Hey, are you alright?” she asked the boy. He looked vaguely familiar and she thought she might have seen him in one of her classes. She remembered poor Eddie and was glad she’d at least been able to save one life. She couldn’t win them all, but moments like this made all her failures a little less painful.

The boy was coming around. He clutched a hand over his bleeding neck. Buffy licked her lips. “Thank you so much,” the guy mumbled, his eyes focusing on her. Then he yelped and scrambled away, falling off the end of the bench.

“What? What’s wrong? Is there another vampire?” Buffy looked around her, searching the weirdly bright foliage for signs of another demon. But she didn’t feel any little tinglies on her neck. She did, however, still hear her heartbeat. Weird. Probably eating something would help bring her down. That was supposed to help, right? When you got too high? She wasn’t an expert.

The kid shook all over and pointed at Buffy, his terrified eyes running over her face. She stepped towards him, putting out a hand to help him up, and he screamed. “Get away from me! Don’t touch me, you freak!”

Buffy reeled back, offended. “What the hell? I just saved your life, you ungrateful jerk!” she said. She put her hands on her hips and rolled her eyes. “Whatever. You can drag yourself to the campus clinic if you’re going to be like that.” She turned to leave when suddenly her heartbeat got louder.

Or, no, a whole bunch of beats jumbled up on her, clamoring in her ears like six or seven stereos all playing “Believe” in different time.

Then voices, quick, quiet, military. The static of a radio. And then a jolting, searing pain that brought Buffy to her knees. Lights exploded behind her eyes and she couldn’t even draw in a burning breath before darkness rolled over her.

***

“I’m getting really sick of being knocked out and waking up in unfamiliar places,” Buffy grumbled.

She came to with a blinding headache. Well, maybe it was the blinding light of her surroundings that was, well, blinding. Her thoughts were too muddled to make much sense of what she was seeing at the moment. Was she still high?

And what the hell had just happened?

Gingerly, she pushed herself to a sitting position and looked around her, eyes squinting under the fluorescent light. She was in some kind of small, white room. And she was the only thing in the room. A glass wall gave her a view of a sterile white hallway. The floor under her was tiled and smooth and brought back memories of visiting her cousin in the hospital when she was very little. Sounds, muffled by the glass, reached her from the hallway. She could hear grunts and growls and yelling that sounded distinctly inhuman. “Hello?” she called out, her voice gravelly with disuse. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Where am I?” she asked.

No one answered. At least, nothing in English. There was some threatening rumbles and snorts coming from somewhere. It sounded like some kind of pig language.

Pig language? Ok, the drugs still being in her system was a definite possibility.

Buffy pulled herself to her feet and wavered dizzily. She put her hand to the back of her head where the throbbing pain seemed to radiate. She felt something hard on her scalp there and a little space with no hair. It felt like stitches. She was going to kill whoever had done that! She was going to be walking around with a weird short spot at the back of her head for months while it grew out! And she didn’t need stitches for a measly head wound! Hello! Slayer healing!

“If someone doesn’t tell me where I am and why I’m here in the next thirty seconds, I’m going to introduce you to Mr. Pointy Jr.!” she growled, groping in her waistband for her stake. It wasn’t there.

Shit. This was a problem.

There was the sound of footsteps in the hallway, boots thumping in unison and a set of clicking heels at the front of the pack. Buffy relaxed her stance and casually leaned against the back wall, realizing that she was still a little unsteady on her feet and unwilling to show whoever it was any weakness.

Three people came into view and stopped in front of what she was beginning to realize was a holding cell.

“Professor Walsh?” Buffy said, forgetting her self-assured stance in her shock and stumbling forward a step.

Her psych professor, dressed in a crisp white lab coat, turned to the man next to her in an identical lab coat. Both held clipboards. “Hostile 17 was found abandoning its victim after instructing him to procure medical attention.”

Buffy blinked owlishly. “Huh?” she asked, eloquently.

Lab Coat jotted down a note on his clipboard. “Interesting. Previously unobserved behavior in an HST of this species.”

Professor Walsh continued, surveying Buffy with a cold, clinical gaze and writing on her own clipboard. “This one was one of my students just days ago. I will be conducting psychological interviews with it to better understand how the change works. It will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource in my research, seeing first-hand how the creature was as a human and how the change altered it.”

“Hey! I’m right here!” Buffy said, glaring at the two scientists.

Lab Coat eyed Buffy like a rat in a maze. “It seems more communicative than the others, too. I expect your interviews to be productive. We know so much about their physiology, but so little about their psychology. We could not have procured a better specimen for our burgeoning psych work.”

“Good work, Agent Finn,” Walsh said with something like pride in her voice.

Finn? Why did that name sound familiar? For the first time, Buffy noticed the towering man in green army fatigues standing at attention behind the two lab coats. “Riley?” she blurted, disbelieving. Could this situation get any more bizarre?

Riley studiously avoided looking at her. “Thank you, Dr. Walsh.”

The two scientists turned to leave and Buffy leapt forward, putting her hands to the glass and opening her mouth to yell at them to come back and let her out of here. But all thought jumped out of her head like fish out of the water as electricity struck her palms and traveled up her arms. Buffy screamed and fell back against the hard floor, stunned.

Her head was swimming. She groaned. In a daze, she saw Riley turn to follow the two lab coats and she scrambled onto her knees, too weak to make it back on her feet. “Wait! Riley! Tell me what’s going on here! What is this? You have to let me out!”

The TA she had flirted with, briefly and terribly, stopped and turned reluctantly back toward her cell. His eyes wouldn’t meet hers. He seemed to be focused on the ground in front of her where she knelt. “You are now the property of the US military, HST. You will be held here until such time as you are needed elsewhere.”

“Property?” Buffy sputtered. “What the hell are you talking about? You can’t do this! I’m a US citizen! I have rights!”

Riley still wouldn’t meet her eyes. “You are no longer a US citizen. You are a hostile subterranean and a subject for study of the Initiative.”

God, he sounded like some kind of robot.

Buffy was starting to feel like the straight man in a comedy skit. This was all wrong. Everything was wrong. She was going crazy. “Is this because of the drugs? Because I swear I didn’t smoke anything, or take anything! Some crazy vam- I mean, college kids drugged me and I woke up in their gross nest- er, dorm room, and whatever you might have found in my blood or whatever isn’t my fault!” she tried desperately. Then, squaring her shoulders, rage filling her, “And anyway, what right do you have to just go around kidnapping people who were just trying to get home after a really crappy night and treating them like a lab rat? I don’t care if you are military; this is illegal!”

“You are not a person, Hostile 17. And you weren’t just trying to get home.” And now Riley’s expression was hardened, though he still wouldn’t meet her eyes. “You were captured after feeding on a victim.”

“Feed-? You think I bit that guy? Gross! I saved his life!” And all thoughts of discretion flew out the window as the wave of impotent rage crested over her. “I found him with some vampire ho’s fangs in his throat and I dusted her. I was patrolling. I’m the Slayer!”

She expected some kind of reaction out of him for that little revelation. He obviously knew about vampires if he was accusing her of feeding on somebody, but her title wasn’t ringing a bell apparently. His brow furrowed minutely. “I’m not going to argue with a hostile,” he said with an air of finality and a little shake of his head.

“Wait, Riley!” she lunged forward again, but didn’t touch the glass. One burst of 20,000 volts was enough for her to learn her lesson. “Look at me, please.” He stopped again, but his back was to her now. He refused to look. Buffy huffed in frustration.

“It sounds like you have some kind of operation going on here capturing demons and studying them in this ooky lab,” she said, curling her nose in disgust at her surroundings. “And I know with the super strength and agility and vamp dustage, it might look like I’m some kind of demon, too. But you guys are seriously mistaken. Like, huge mistake. I’m the Slayer. My job is to hunt demons. I’ve been doing this since I was fifteen. Look!” she said, pulling her little wallet out of her jacket pocket. She pulled out her ID. “I’m a human being! I have a real address and a bank account and a mom who, by the way, is going to go seriously Mama Bear on you guys if you don’t let me out of here before she has time to miss me. I’m not exaggerating. She hit a vampire over the head with an axe once. She has no fear. And she’s not even the worst! When my Watcher finds out I’m being held here, you’re going to have the whole British government bearing down on you. This could be an international incident! You could start a war!”

Okay, so she was bluffing on that last bit. The Council hadn’t given two shits about her since she told them where to shove it last year, but she was starting to get desperate.

Riley’s shoulders hunched slightly, the only indication he was feeling even a modicum of discomfort at being her jailor. “Whoever you were yesterday or a few days ago, whenever this happened,” he waved a hand vaguely. “You’re not, anymore. You’ve been changed. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you, Bu-“ he stopped, and it seemed like he didn’t want to say her name. “I’m sorry.”

And he walked away.

Buffy gaped, stunned, for a fraction of a second before she leapt to her feet again, fury lending her strength. She beat her fists against the glass ineffectually, shocks jumping up her arms with each brief, violent contact. The pain only fueled her. “Say my name!” she yelled after him. “My name is Buffy Summers! You know my name, Riley! Say it!”

The thump of his boots faded and all she was left with were catcalls and inhuman screeches from the other prisoners. Buffy turned around and threw her fist into the back wall of her cell, screaming in frustration. She didn’t even make a dent. Her knuckles came away bloody.

For several minutes she paced, vain fury making her feel like her skin was going to crawl off her body. Her thoughts raced, trying to cope with the futility of her situation. These people thought she was a demon. They wanted to keep her in this cell, and they apparently had the power of the entire US military behind them. She had no way of contacting anyone outside, and she had a feeling this place was underground somewhere. That’s usually where the government kept their dirty little secrets, right?

And how could she convince these fanatics that she didn’t belong here when they wouldn’t even look at her? She had a feeling that that was the last bit of dialogue she was going to get out of Riley.

Ugh! She couldn’t believe she’d thought he was cute! She should have taken those books she’d dropped on his head in the bookstore that day and bashed his brains in when she had the chance. Probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. The man had the very limited intelligence of an automaton.

Images of smashing Riley’s skull into a bookshelf had a surprisingly calming effect on Buffy, and she slowed her pacing, taking in deep breaths through her nose and out through her mouth. She had to keep her head. She was never going to get out of here if she let her temper run the show. She had to be patient, and she had to think. Professor Walsh had mentioned coming back for interviews with her. She’d realize her mistake then, surely, if they could just have a conversation. If she would just listen.

Yeah. If she would just listen to Buffy, this would all be cleared up. They’d let Buffy go, maybe apologize, and she’d come back with a rocket launcher and light this place up for putting her through this. The thought was comforting.

Buffy put her back to the wall and slid down, resting her forearms on her knees. She slid off her jacket, resigning herself to getting comfortable because she was probably going to be here for a while. Though, not forever. She’d get out. And then they’d be sorry. And then she’d go home and get some of mom’s homemade red sauce.

Oh, god, she was still so hungry. When would the munchies wear off?

A bright slash of red caught her eye and she zeroed in on the blood on her knuckles. Without thinking she brought her hand to her mouth and licked the blood away with long strokes of her tongue. Yumm… A growl escaped her throat and for the first time since she’d woken up in Sunday’s nest she realized just how weird a sound that was for her to be making.

“Ow!” she hissed, jerking her hand away from her mouth. Two neat holes adorned the meat between her thumb and forefinger, dark blood welling up sluggishly onto her skin.

Had she… bitten her own hand? Bitten it so hard she drew blood?

Something looked so familiar, disturbingly familiar, about those two little blood-filled holes in her skin.

It was a sight she’d seen countless times in her career as a slayer, a motif, a recurring theme, a vision that haunted her nightmares. How many classmates had she found with two little holes in their throats, just like these?

A sense of dawning horror like a touch of a cold hand crept up the back of her neck as Buffy raised both hands to her mouth and tentatively touched her teeth. Needle-sharp points pricked the tips of her fingers.

Her breath started to come in hard, rapid gasps. She didn’t want to go any further, wanted to close her eyes and sit on her hands. A scream was bubbling up in her throat, unheard. Her fingers raised and met an unfamiliar, lumpy brow.

“No, please, no!” she whispered fiercely, moving her fingers down the strange slope of her nose, out over the deep-set orbits of her eyes.

The scream finally tore through her throat, joined by a chorus of demonic howls all around her.

***



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