((Author's Note: The Angel episode Sleep Tight hasn't happened yet in this time frame.))
Motionless, eyes riveted to a single point in space, watching. In a flurry of blonde hair and black leather, the two fighters tore into each other, ripping and kicking and biting. There was nothing else, but the two of them, and the battle was horrific. Blood already pooled on the floor, splattered the walls.
The Slayer always appeared about to win. She would knock the faceless beast down, but each time it would get back up, and push on. It was wearing her down, and all he could do was watch. He couldn't even voice his horror at it.
And he knew he was doing this, that he was this faceless creature. But how could it be him? He wouldn't blacken her eyes with his fists, tear her flesh with his claws. He would never do that. And yet there he was, watching himself.
The battle raged on.
"Open the door!" Buffy shouted, as Spike began to struggle in her arms. Xander rushed ahead of her, fumbling with the keys before popping open the Magic Box door. Buffy practically fell through it, the bell ringing crazily above her head.
"Training room." she puffed out, grunting as her hold on the vampire slipped a little. She hoisted him back up, tightening her grip to the point of pain, and pressed on.
Xander again held the door as she struggled into the back room, and dropped Spike on a training mat, falling to her knees soon afterward.
"Spike...Spike!" she shouted, trying to reach him, restrain him, and dodge wild blows all at the same time. "Stop!"
She felt tears pricking her eyes again, but refused to let them fall. His eyes weren't even open. God, what if he had brain damage?
Someone flipped on the lights.
"Buffy, he's not even awake. I think we need to...chain him up or something." Xander spoke from behind her, refusing to look at the scene.
"Yeah..." Buffy breathed, exhausted. "There's some in the weapons chest."
"Here..." he grabbed them and locked the manacles around Spike's wrists, looping the chain around a strong pipe in the wall. They both backed up quickly to avoid the kicking feet.
He continued to thrash for a few moments, while Buffy and Xander watched in silence, unsure what to do. From the front they could hear Tara making an 'anonmyous tip' about where the police could find the stolen diamond and the murderers of Katrina Silver.
They had left Warren and Andrew in their 'lair', securely bound and gagged. There was little else they could do; both were human. Not demons to be slain. There had been a tense moment when Dawn had to be dragged away from Warren, whom she had kicked squarely in the mouth, but Buffy didn't blame her. She had had to struggle not to do much more herself.
The struggling finally stopped, and Spike sagged against the chains, still.
Xander looked away again, and helped Buffy back to her feet. He looked at her lost expression and quickly pulled her into a hug.
"Hey...He's gonna be fine. It's Spike, remember?"
Buffy snorted, returning the embrace.
"Yeah. He won't ever go away when we want him to. This isn't any different."
Tara poked her head in.
"I called Anya. She's on her way."
"She's so not gonna be happy about this..." Xander complained, referring to the vampire locked in the training room, and he led Buffy out.
"How ya doing, Will?" The Slayer asked, sinking into one of the chairs around the table.
"Good. Headachy, and dizzy, but good."
Dawn looked up from her study of the table, her eyes still red-rimmed.
"How is he?"
Buffy sighed, pushing a lock of hair out of her face.
"He's not good. When he wakes up...." she trailed off. If he wakes up...."We'll see."
Sleeping that night had been hard. Knowing that he was alone, even for a few hours, locked in the Magic Box, was killing her, but they had little other choice. It was the only place strong enough to hold him that didn't have any windows. Anya had promised she would come in early to check on him, and call her if there was any change during the day. Everyone had pretty much forced her to bed, all saying how much she needed her rest.
So Willow and Tara got a complaining Dawn off to school, while the Slayer slept. She didn't even dream, she was so exhausted.
When the call finally came, it was around noon. It woke her instantly, even though someone had answered it downstairs. She was changed and down the stairs before Willow hung up.
"Was that Anya?" she asked.
Willow nodded, grabbing her coat.
"Yeah. He's awake. Tara!" She called. "We gotta go!"
Buffy increased her pace when she saw that the 'Closed' sign had been put up on the Magic Box door. Anya had never closed the shop during the day, unless there was something wrong. Xander's car was already out front. She must have called him at work.
The three girls hurried inside, to an anxiously awaiting Anya, wringing her hands.
"Thank god! He's been doing THAT for about a half an hour. Scared away my money!" she whined. "I had to close early."
Growling and rattling of chains echoed from the back room.
"Has anyone been in there?" Buffy asked.
"No, I didn't go in." Xander paced near the door, running a hand through his hair. "Didn't know what to expect...."
"That's okay, Xander. I'll...go see...." she trailed off, and marched past them.
Xander went to console Anya, who looked as if she didn't know what to do with herself. She couldn't understand why Spike was acting this way.
Buffy turned the doorknob and the noise inside cut off abruptly. She took a deep breath and made herself push it open, and step inside.
"Spike?" she asked, shutting the door behind her as quietly as she could.
He was watching her, wide-eyed, before he tore his gaze away, looking at the far wall. He was sitting up, and as she came closer, he looked as if he were trying to push himself into the wall.
"Hey...it's alright, it's over...." She reached out to touch him, but he jerked away. Her eyes flooded with tears again, and she bit her lip to stop them from falling.
"Sorry about the chains. Everyone's...worried about you."
He didn't respond.
He slowly shook his head, and she nearly jumped for joy that he was understanding her, at least.
"Dawn's really worried...Dawn and I...we're worried about you, Spike. Are you alright?" she asked, her voice as sincere as she could muster through her tears. She reached out again, fingers brushing his shoulder.
He yelped and jerked away again, pressing his cheek to the wall, panting.
Her lower lip trembled, and tears traced down her cheeks. She got up quickly and left the room, shutting the door carefully behind her.
Everyone shot to their feet at her reappearance. She hugged herself.
"H-how is he?" Tara asked, noting the tears.
"He's..." Buffy trailed off, and shook her head. "He's broken, like you said, Wills. Totally broken...."
Xander somehow managed to pull off looking sick and pissed off at the same time. His world had crumbled when Buffy died; one of his constants gone. Now it was starting to crumble again. Broken was never a word used to describe the always present and annoying vampire that would trade insults with him till the cows came home. Another constant gone.
"But we can fix him, right?" Willow asked, looking a little sick herself.
"I don't know." Buffy shook her head, walking over to the phone. "But I know someone who might."
"Uh...Hi....I need to speak with Angel...please." Buffy said.
"Fine, may I ask who's calling?" replied the gruff and streetwise voice on the other end.
There was a pause.
"Oh...Buffy? Yeah, I'll go get him."
Another, longer pause followed, until the phone was snatched up again, and an anxious sounding Angel spoke into the phone.
"Buffy? What's wrong? Did something happen?"
She closed her eyes. God, she was NOT looking forward to this.
"Yeah. I need your help. Actually...not me."
"I told you he's been helping us. The chip and everything..." she fought back the tears again, her voice cracking. "He was captured a couple of weeks ago. Tortured. We just got him back, but he's..."
"Broken?" Angel asked, sounding surprised.
"Yeah. That's the word. I figured you knew something about..."
Yet another long pause.
"Is he talking at all?"
"No. He won't let anyone touch him. He shook his head no when I asked him if he was hungry, but that was it."
She could hear Angel swallow. She tensed.
"The aim of torture is not to kill the victim, but to break down the victim’s personality. If he's that far gone, Buffy...He's going to need a lot of help."
"I can handle it. What do I have to do?" she asked.
"Try to get some blood in him." he sighed. "I'll be there as soon as I can."
Buffy blinked. He was coming? Here? She slowly hung up the phone. She didn't know if that was a good idea, seeing how much Spike hated his grandsire.
She looked over at the others, who were watching her expectantly.
"Uh...Angel's coming. To help."
Willow winced, glancing toward the door to the back room, knowing it wouldn't please Spike. Anya and Tara looked a little confused.
There was a loud thunk as Xander dropped his head onto the table.
"Great." he said, the sound slightly muffled. He raised his head.
"Anyone got a muzzle? Or two?"
Continued in Chapter 11