She nodded solemnly, like a child being trusted to hold her baby brother.
He handed her a silver tray to deliver, the thin translucent white porcelain of a single very expensive, very fragile teacup glowing ruddy with mulled wine like the delicately infused, oh-so-temporary flush of her pale cheek.
Spike knew how cranky he was going to get, anyway, when he sank his teeth into his princess and found her blood spiced with the fresh grass and India-rubber flavor of hearty little blond brats, the tang of smoke from an altar boy’s censer still clinging to her hair.
Most of the alto section of the Gdansk Cathedral Choir, they’d snacked on that afternoon in the dim recesses of the Lady Chapel. Spike didn’t like sopranos – they were too shrill when they screamed. Caught for the price of a white collar and a wimple and the stomach-paining effort of not laughing.
Caught without permission, too, but that was only a beating, maybe a poker or two someplace intimate and, until Angelus, untouched. Maybe the humiliation of looking through him and not bothering to punish him at all. He was used to that.
But dressing Dru up as a nun – that was treading on Angel’s sacred preserve. That was playing with the innocent she’d been – the innocent she was still, some ways, despite the lovely blood drops falling through her fingers like pearls, the softness of her skin where candles from the altar dripped trails of heat across the gentle swell of her stomach, those high pert breasts capped with purplish nipples.
It hadn’t been his idea to dip them in the font. She’d bent over the edge, coy, looking back over her shoulder and daring him to take her from behind. Spike was never one to refuse a dare.
And when she bent her head even further, pressed her lips to the surface of the water and drank in pain, then shoved him down, wrapped her mouth about his cock, and showed him just how heaven and hell might meet and mingle and be one thing, well, it was only fair, right, to return the favor?
She’d keened and writhed against him when he shoved the long end of a jeweled cross up inside her, and looked at him with something dark and deep in her eyes. Almost like he was Angelus. Almost like he was a man. Someday, maybe, she’d look at him like that when there was nothing but him inside her. Someday maybe he would be enough.
An hour ago, by the clock. Not long enough for her to heal up, not yet. And once he found the marks he’d get the whole story out of her. Maybe if they could distract him just a little longer…
Spike heard the door snick shut, upstairs, and he strained to hear the noises from the room above. He daren’t creep up to listen at the door – Angelus had a sixth sense for such things, it seemed. His fangs descended as he focused his senses – another trick Angelus had taught him.
He heard the muffled clanks of chains smothered by thick oriental carpets, or perhaps a featherbed. The tiny crunch of the teacup snapping in one heavy hand: indistinguishable if he hadn’t heard a similar sound – he checked the cupboard – six times already. Almost time to order a new set. Only the best of everything for the great ponce of Europe.
He heard the thud of more wood being laid in the grate. That would be Dru building up the fire, setting the blade in the hob to heat like a kettle just in case he fancied it, then snapping her own shackles closed like a dog fetching its lead. He heard a low laugh, knew Angelus would be running a finger down that soft cheek and calling her his good girl – or a bad one, it came to the same thing in the end.
A high, trilling laugh – that would be Darla, sweeping in aflutter with manners and packages. He didn’t need to hear to know she was divesting herself of her coat, chattering at Angelus as if this and every other moment of his was hers to sport with and ruin, draping herself distractingly over a chaise.
“Shut it, bitch,” Spike muttered fiercely, and perhaps the low, indistinguishable growl had meant something similar, for her fluting voice mercifully ceased. Now only the sap crackling in the fire distracted him from reconstructing the scene above. He squeezed his eyes shut. He could hear the screams.
Wordless cries became “No” became “please” became “I love you” became “Angel, oh Angel”, a progression he knew as well as his old name, or the back of Angelus’ hand. His own hands slipped without thought into a routine of their own, unfastening his breeches, tugging at his cock just at the edge of harshness.
“You mustn’t.” Spike’s eyes flew open, and there was Dru, her cheeks back to their natural ivory pallor, but her eyes alight and her lips swollen – both sets, to judge by her gait. “You mustn’t please yourself. Daddy says so.”
Spike’s hand fell away from his cock. It wasn’t that he was obeying – it wasn’t, his mind insisted. It was only that it was bloody humiliating that he knew that Spike would be down here alone, wanking off to the sounds of Angelus taking his best beloved. On the other hand… it meant he’d been thinking of Spike, even at a moment like that. Spike grinned. One point to him.
He rose and went to her. “You’re beautiful,” he told her sincerely. “You shine.” Never more so, in fact.
She was pleased, he knew it. She allowed him to kiss her cheek before saying, “Mustn’t touch. You’re naughty.”
“We were naughty together, pet,” he pointed out reasonably.
Dru shook her head. “I’m Daddy’s good girl.”
And there was the heart of it. So long as Dru was Angelus’ good girl, he had no choice but to stick around and be Angelus’ bad boy. A throb of blood echoed through his aching cock.
He pressed a kiss to her soft mouth, licking at the tiny trickles of dried blood where Angel’s fangs had pricked. “Of course you are, love,” he said, chucking her under the chin, and let her petulantly push him away.
“You’re to be punished.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “What’s it this time? Bread and convicts? No hunting till I’ve learned my lesson? Or will he take care of it himself?” He was not, was absolutely not holding his breath. He certainly didn’t want the answer to be yes. Angelus’ punishments were… memorable.
Dru shook her head. “He says he’s too busy. He says you’re to take care of it yourself, and Darla will be by later to make sure you’ve done it properly.”
Darla! Dammit. Angelus must really be ticked at him. There was no love lost between them – or even hate. Only contempt. “Done what?” Spike asked finally.
“He said, as you’re feeling so imaginative, you should come up with something suitable.” Dru’s tone shaded, taking on the faintest hint of an Irish brogue as she quoted the words. In her own voice she added, “Daddy thinks of the best games.” She clapped her hands – midway between an excited child and an imperious grande dame summoning a servant.
She turned and walked to the door, then looked back. “And Spoike? Don’t bother coming to bed tonight.”
He nodded. He’d expected that. One time, after he’d *really* gotten under Angelus’ skin over some hasty words to Darla, he hadn’t been permitted to touch Dru for two years. It might have been longer, except that Darla’d gotten tired of having to share her lover’s attentions and energies.
“That’s why we got the boy in the first place!” she pointed out, and for once Spike was in full agreement with her.
“Tell him you’re sorry,” Dru advised him, and he gave her a tender smile, because he knew that was as close as she could come to saying she’d miss his caresses and wanted the time to be short.
“Tell him I’m bloody well not!” he countered. Dru eyed him sadly and left the room, shutting the door behind her.
Spike began to look about the kitchen with a jaded eye. Imaginative, huh? You’d think Angelus could do his own dirty work. But this had better be good – Darla wouldn’t hesitate to tell Angelus if she had the least suspicion he was going easy on himself, and then there would be hell to pay.
Knives had been done. Hot oil was positively medieval. Skewers… skewers had potential. Or the big empty hooks in the nearly bare larder. It didn’t quite have the Angelus touch, though, unnecessary complications and poetic injustice.
Suddenly he knew, and stirred the cooling ash in the stove, where the embers glowed like jewels. It’d be dirty, but then, that was the point. And he’d always known he was playing with fire… he heard a tiny gasp when he thrust his still-hard cock into a hollow in the red-hot coals, in the second before he released his bitten-through lip and howled with the pain of it. Dru was watching, then, through the keyhole.
He thrust his hips forward in a parody of fucking, feeling the searing along his length where earlier the holy water had stung in the cuts from her fangs. Again, and again, gripping the warm iron sides of the stove until he was surprised not to see it buckle around his fingers. He threw back his head and screamed. Five times, as many as he’d made her come.
Spike fell back and lay panting on the floor, his mind following the rise and fall of his chest while the room spun itself back to rights. There were more uses for breathing than simple breath.
He didn’t hear the creak of the stairs that would mean Dru was creeping up again to report to Angelus. He always liked to know what had happened before Darla told him, so he could catch her in a lie and lead in to their bedsport. Which meant – bloody hell – he wasn’t done yet.
Spike groaned and sat up. What now, for fuck’s sake? His eye fell on the thick, coarse scrub brush by the sink. Of course. First fire, then water. First dirty, then clean. There was a twisted sort of logic to it. Dru would approve. He rose to his hands and knees to collect it – and to spare his injured dick. And for lubrication – the lye soap would sting like hell in the cuts.
Spike knelt up and spread his knees, reaching awkwardly behind him. Even with the unnatural grace that Dru had given him, there was no dignified way for a man to cram something up his own arse, let alone something as ungainly as this. He tried breathing again – pushing, inside and out, on the in-drawn air, and resting on the exhalation. It helped stifle the screams.
In was all right. It hurt, but it was all right. The idiot ache in his balls demanded more of whatever it could get. The problem would be pulling it the hell back out.
Spike braced himself, and then laughed. Not like there was a point. He yanked the thing back out fast, before he could think better of it and lose his nerve. Fortunately he’d always been good at acting before he thought.
This time nothing could stifle the scream. And in spite of all he could do to shape “Oy!” or “Fuck” or “bloody hell” it came out “Angel”, just like Dru’s had.
Spike heard the creak of the stairs bring Dru up to report. He couldn’t make out the words, but he knew that low, satisfied chuckle from Angelus – and the tiny mews from Dru that meant he was fucking her hard while she told her tale.
Spike was tired. When he hauled himself to his hands and knees again, his arms shook under his weight. But he pulled himself up to the cook’s table and made a grab at the little round salt cellar.
He wet his finger, sucking on it, and dipped it in to coat it with the coarse grains, then pressed it slowly into his torn hole, feeling the burn intensify and spread. He dumped the rest onto himself, making it obvious what he’d done because fuck knew he didn’t want Darla coming too close to check, then lowered himself carefully to lie face-down on the floor. The cold flagstone was soothing on his burned cock, and almost made up for the weight.
Spike smiled a secret smile. When Darla reported that Dru’d left before Spike was done, Angelus would teach her a lesson in patience – or Darla one for lying. Either way he’d be entertained, and he’d know Spike was responsible, even if he’d never admit it. The trick was to remember that no one was outside the game. Everyone could be a pawn. Angelus had taught him that too.