Wish Away My Pain
All the vampires were doing their best to stay out of Angelus' way. For the past month he'd been cranky. And there wasn't a vampire in the place that knew why, even when Spike had returned a week ago to report on the status of the casino, and he hadn't known what was up, or if he had, he hadn't said anything to anyone else before returning to Vegas.
Xander decided to send Faith in, since he'd managed to make her and Katherine his human servants shortly after that night over a year ago, Angelus had shown more interest in Faith than he had any of the other servants. Xander grinned at the memory, it was interesting to see Angelus pleased and angry at the same time. Of course, what had followed was much less pleasant.
Xander had spent several days in a blessed prison cell, Angelus favorite way to punish his wayward vamps. The only part of the cell that wasn't blessed was the floor. What made it even more impressive was the fact that Angelus himself couldn't approach or touch the cage. Angelus simply ordered the naughty vampire inside, and if said vampire didn't go he mind raped you, and you went in anyway.
The cage was big enough, barely, on the inside for a vampire to stay without bursting into flames. But only if the vampire stayed directly in the center of it.
Spending three days in there not being able to move, barely able to hold onto his sanity, made Xander wonder how long one could stay in there and come out sane, one day longer and he knew he wouldn't have been.
Hell, even just a few hours more, and Xander suspected he might have become stark raving mad.
No, he didn't plan on seeing that look on Angelus face directed at him ever again. Though it was something of an ego boost for Xander, because he'd stayed in there the longest out of any of Angelus' kiss. But what had really made it bearable, and worth it had been his new servants.
Xander had followed Faith almost home, then he'd reached out, only to test the waters, he'd told himself. But even with one mark, Katherine had felt what he was doing, or wanting to do, and she'd liked the idea. Before they'd realized it, he'd given Katherine the second mark, and together they'd reached out to Faith.
Faith had felt what they were doing, or she'd felt something, and had sniffed Xander out. But just as she'd been about to try and hurt him - together he and Amy had given her the first two marks.
Lucky thing for him was that Faith liked the idea of power just as much as Katherine had; otherwise, she might have tried ripping him apart, because Xander had been a bit distracted by the mad power rush to have put much effort into stopping her.
As Xander and Faith approached his
office, they noticed Drusilla guarding the door.
That was unusual, because Angelus liked for Drusilla to stay away from him in public. He'd even decided that it would be a good idea to keep the mansion a closed and unknown location. So, Angelus had actually built tunnels under his recently constructed vampire museum which he'd built beside Buffy's club, so that the vampires could pretend the museum was actually their lair, and return to the mansion without being spotted.
"He's busy," she said, when she finally saw them. Xander realized that it had taken her so long to notice because she'd been having a vision.
"Trouble?" Xander asked.
Faith wasn't happy, but Angelus being too busy to see her had her thanking her lucky stars.
She knew what Xander had in mind, she even agreed. But she didn't like Angelus, or the way the rest of the vamps treated her. Though she never bitched about that out loud, or she didn't anymore. Xander might be a big ol' teddy bear of a master, Angelus was not.
She'd only mouthed off once about how she was just as good as they were and they would damn well treat her with some respect, because Angelus had slapped her across the room, and then kept her on a leash in rat form for three days.
It really had been the worst thing he could have done to her, she loved her human form and didn't ever want to risk losing it. So, she kept her place now and her thoughts to herself. It didn't mean she was happy about it, and that was the only reason she agreed with Xander's idea. If she could please Angelus, she hoped he would give her more respect. It had worked with that Master vampire in her hometown, because after one night that master had left her alone.
"Not yet," Drusilla replied, then she seemed to take pity on Xander. "It's time for him to give tribute to his... goddess. And he doesn't have anything worthy. If he doesn't come up with something soon, things could get unpleasant
Xander knew what that meant, or thought he did. Willow had finally shared her theory on how Angelus managed to defeat The Master, and from what Willow said - they did not want to get on this chick's bad-side, though Angelus had never confirmed Willow's theory.
Faith smiled, she had followed Xander's thoughts, and now she had an idea. If in fact, Xander, or rather Willow, was correct. She broke the thought off, because she wanted to present it to Angelus himself.
When she felt Xander agree, she cursed herself, she'd wanted to keep him from picking up on that.
Finally, Angelus called Drusilla inside, and after a short time she came out telling Xander and Faith he would see them now.~ * ~ * ~
The next night, Faith watched from the shadows as Buffy and Tara approached Angelus' office.
Thankfully, Xander had let her take the rightful credit for coming up with this idea. Faith realized that Xander liked her human form as much as she did, and wanted to see her get on his Master's good side. At least that was the impression she'd gathered from his thoughts. The only downside was the order Angelus gave to tell no one about it, so at the moment she couldn't brag to anyone.
Faith noted that Drusilla wasn't standing guard tonight, and Faith figured she was probably off doing whatever good little human servants did when their Master didn't require their presence. Faith hung with her rodere, but Drusilla was a witch, and a Seer, so she had no idea what Drusilla might do in her off time.~ * ~ * ~
Tara could feel Buffy's curiosity, and perhaps a hint of fear. Buffy had managed to avoid being a victim of Angelus recent bad mood, and she wasn't really concerned about becoming a victim of it now. But that was mainly because Angelus had come out of his office early last night in a great mood. So, Tara and Buffy were just curious if he would tell them what caused his sudden mood change.
Tara wasn't really curious, as long as it wasn't something that affected Buffy or Willow, she generally didn't care.
Actually, she was actually a bit upset that she was stuck coming to Angelus' office tonight. Tonight she'd been planning to spend the night finally alone with Willow. Oz was off on pack business, and Xander was off doing something with Katherine.
Tara wished she knew why Amy had suddenly decided to start calling herself Katherine everywhere but college. However, Tara suspected it was probably best she didn't know, because she suspected it would be something she wouldn't approve of. There was just something about Katherine she didn't like; no, something that spooked her.
Tara found her mouth hanging open as Angelus told them what he wanted to do. She was missing a night with Willow to discuss her family. It was too much.
Buffy smiled. She didn't really know anything about this Itzpapalotl, other than she was something of a bogey man or woman amongst vampires. But Buffy knew enough to know she liked the idea of Tara's awful father and brother spending the rest of their lives with her.
She sent Tara a mental picture, which caused Tara to smile.
Buffy found that Tara still had a lot of morals when it came to using magic, but the girl deeply resented what her family had done to her, and it wasn't just the lies. Right after Buffy had given Tara the fourth mark, they'd kidnapped her family or her father and brother. Tara had refused to use magic to do it, but Buffy found that Tara didn't mind physically grabbing them or punishing them.
Buffy's picture helped Tara make up her mind, she was ready to kill them anyway. Tara was bored with them, but Buffy and Willow seemed to enjoy them. Of course, Willow still had Cordelia and all Buffy had to do was walk out the door and hapless humans everywhere begged to be with her. There was just one glitch.
According to Angelus it was likely Itzpapalotl would turn them into vampires. Tara didn't want that, but Itzpapalotl liked to punish bad men until they broke and died. Tara knew enough to know that while vampires would torture humans, they were, in Angelus' words, just so damn fragile that it took most of the fun out of it. And apparently this Itzpapalotl liked having fun.
"As long as she can promise me that they will never again be free men," Tara finally said. Then waited for the feel of Buffy or Angelus fist to connect with her face. It was out of turn, she knew, but for Tara it was deeply personal, and she did not want to run the risk of them ending up being free and undead.
When Tara finally opened her eyes, she found Angelus grinning. "I can guarantee that myself. Once she looks into their minds and learns what they've done...," he paused as if savoring a fine wine.
"However, if you want her word, you may come with me when I present them to her and ask her yourself."
Tara wasn't sure who was more shocked, she or Buffy.
Angelus was still smiling. Sure he probably should have punished the girl for speaking out of turn, but he thought it might make the gift even better if their victim, or at least one of them, came with him. Itzpapalotl would like Tara, and he would score big points with the deluded vampire for taking care of Tara.
"We will leave on Friday," he said. "Be ready at sunset. Oh, and remember she considers herself a goddess; take great care not to offend her. And tell no one what this is really about. She
values her privacy and doesn't want to be associated with other vampires."
Tara nodded her head, she didn't care if Itzpapalotl considered herself a one eyed purple people eater as long as she would take proper care of her family.
As they left the room, Angelus smiled. His kingdom was complete. He was reasonably secure from outside attack, and only Willow posed a threat from the inside.
And Willow didn't pose a major threat, she wouldn't pose that for at least a few hundred years, but Angelus would always be older, and with luck, more powerful.
His beloved seer, Drusilla said she saw their family being large and happy for a long time.
So, other than Willow, no one, not even Buffy or Xander came close to being a potential threat, though Buffy and Xander were already powerful in their own right. However, because he'd made them, no matter how powerful they became, he would always have power over them. So, if the time ever came, Buffy, and even Xander, would side with him over even their lovers and friends. And as an added bonus, Xander's triumvirate was more powerful than Willow's, and his would only become more powerful as they aged.
He turned to smile at the painting of The Master hanging on the wall behind him, he only kept it because he liked to gloat over the old fart. Well, that and because his beloved Darla was in the painting.
Angelus shook his head. The Master had always hated being of Belle Morte's line. The Master thought fear was more powerful than beauty, so he'd scarred his face badly, and always kept his head bald. That did make the beautiful Darla stand out so much better in the painting next to the ugly old bat.
Most of the vampires who served under The Master were still alive, because The Master had been about to start scaring all his vampires, so they were thankful he'd been killed before he could complete his mission. Luke hadn't escaped completely, though he only had a large ragged scar down the side of his face, which most humans never saw, unless Luke wanted them too.
Angelus smiled again. The Master would have given most of his limbs for Xander's power.
"Eat yer heart out," Angelus said to the painting.
He was in a great mood, because the only thing he really had to worry about in the near future was the growing discord among the Council, and it wasn't likely such events would greatly effect him.
After the Council would finally work things out among themselves, Angelus knew that they might focus on him, but the way the Council tended to work it would be years before they turned their attention back to him.
Though Angelus had no doubt they would get back to him eventually, simply because they didn't really like him ruling so large a territory, but hopefully by the time they would act, Buffy and Xander would be strong enough to rule in their own right. That way he could divide his territory up, pleasing the Council, but still be ruler of all the land. If that wasn't enough for them, he could always give Willow her own territory as well, but he would only do that as a last resort.~ * ~ * ~
A long time ago I'd planned on doing a sequel to this fanfic. However, I am now unsure if that will happen. Though I will admit that I do have some ideas, and talking about these things with readers have got some things stirring in my mind again, but I make no promises. Why? Well, since this story was "finished" so long ago my writing style has changed a great deal, and I'm just not sure I could come back to writing in this
style again. And I'm just not sure a sequel in a different style would feel right to me, or you readers.
Not to mention that it could
be a bit difficult for me to capture the voices of these characters properly again - after all this they don't have much in common anymore with their canon counterparts so even going back and watching the shows wouldn't be likely to help much. However, there is an upside - the sequel is much more likely to focus on other characters (not seen, or barely seen here) with the characters seen here merely making a cameo here and there. The thing is, I believe if I come back this will end up being a trilogy, which means we would eventually get back to the Buffy/Angel characters.