Story Title: Twists and Turns
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Alternate Reality, Horror, Romance
Warnings: Violence, Bad Language, Sexual Situations, Torture, Character Death
Couples: Spuffy (eventually) but takes its time. Some Spike/Other and Buffy/Other.
He waited in the shadows of the darkened alley, moonlight painting the London streets with an eerie blue glow. A dog barked nearby, and he could hear the faint clatter of carriages moving along the cobbled streets. He continued to wait patiently.
Standing in a darkened doorway, he was invisible to anyone who might walk down the street, while he would have a perfect view of them. A rat scurried along the footpath and ran underneath the door of a shop further along the narrow alley. The faint sound of voices reached his ears and he turned his head towards the sound. Two men entered the alley with a woman between them. She was flirting shamelessly with them, and he guessed they had found themselves a whore to play with. Pickings must be slim after all the recent attacks.
He waited as they led the woman out of sight of the main road, and shoved her against a wall. She was a little startled and tried to shove them back, but they refused to move, instead closing in on her. Stepping out of his hiding place soundlessly, unnoticed as the woman's struggles grew more desperate, he approached. She screamed, and as they laughed, he revealed his presence.
"Hardly an ideal choice for a meal is she? Why don't you turn your attention to someone with a bit more fight in them?"
They turned at the sound of his voice, and the woman screamed louder. One of the men stepped closer to him, and in the light of the moon, allowed his features to shift.
"A Hunter is it? I thought we got rid of you lot already. You must not have heard. Angelus owns London, and any Hunters who set foot here die."
"I'm well aware of what's been happening. If every Hunter dies you shouldn't have any problem taking care of me then, should you?"
The vampire snarled and attacked. His companion released the frightened woman, who stumbled back in shock, before her flight instinct kicked in and she ran, leaving the three shadowy figures to their fight. The second vampire was just about to attack, when he saw his associate vanish in a cloud of dust. He did a double take before realizing the Hunter was getting closer to him. Growling, he swung a powerful fist at his opponent's head, missed, and found himself shoved against the alley wall, a stake pressing dangerously close to his heart and an arm across his throat pinning him.
"Where is Angelus?" the Hunter demanded.
"I don't know," the vampire hissed.
"Then you're of no use to me." The stake pressed further into the vampire's chest, piercing the skin.
"No, wait, stop! I might know something that could help you."
"Might you now?"
"If you let me live, I'll tell you."
The pressure of the stake eased slightly.
"They were staying at the Royal London Hotel, but they've moved on. I don't know where exactly, but I heard it's somewhere fancy, the home of a Lord, I think. I don't know the name. There's a party tonight. He'll probably be there. Someone called Patton is hosting it."
"That'll be very helpful. I appreciate it."
"You're crazy to go after him. He'll skin you alive. No Hunter can stop Angelus or his family."
"So I've heard, but then he's never fixated on a Hunter the way he has on me for some reason. I think it's time I pay him a visit. After all, he's called on all my associates—and my family."
The vampire's eyes widened comically.
Will cut him off and drove the stake into the thing's heart without a second thought. The vampire stared down at the stake in shock, then back at Will.
"But I told you—" The vampire broke off, his form crumbling before Will's eyes.
"And I never made that promise." Will pulled the stake back out and watched the dust drift to the ground.
He knew the man hosting the party, and he knew the location as well. It was an annual affair that Will had attended several times. He crept away into the shadows. Angelus' spies would be searching for him once they discovered that Will had left the house. It would be better for him to confront his foe now, at this party. It was unlikely he'd have his minions attend such an event, although Will would have to be wary of Darla and Drusilla. Both could very well be in attendance.
Angelus sipped his champagne and observed the crowd gathered at the party. Darla was in a far corner talking to a gentleman who was clearly enraptured by the blonde beauty. Angelus caught her eye and they shared a smile. He turned his attention back to the crowd and found Drusilla on the dance floor, scandalizing the guests as she danced in a risqué fashion with a gentleman she had enthralled. He watched her move with her partner and took another long sip of his champagne.
His women had found their companions for the night. It was time he did the same. They would have their fun then lure them to some unseen corner to feed on before returning home together. As he moved through the crowd, he flicked his eyes from one guest to another in search of the ideal prey. They settled on a young girl, probably about seventeen or so, sitting alone watching the couples dancing. She was a pretty little thing with black hair and brown eyes; a little thin but not overly so, and she was innocent. Angelus could sense it the way a shark smells blood. He drained his glass and left it on a nearby table, making his approach.
Drusilla ceased dancing, her gaze drifting over to the adjoining room. Her dance partner continued to stare at her as if she were the only one in the room.
"What is it my dear?" he asked, his thumb caressing one elegant gloved hand, while the other ran up and down her back.
"Someone has come to play with Daddy. The Prince will soon be here." She turned back to him, a smile spreading across her face.
She led him into another dance, the presence she had sensed heightening her cheerful mood, causing her to dance with even more passion than she had previously.
Angelus sat next to the girl he'd chosen and turned his eyes to the couples on the floor again. He didn't miss the way she turned her head to take him in, nor the blush that spread across her face as she quickly turned away again.
"I have to wonder just why it is that such a beauty is sitting here all alone instead of dancing the night away like those ladies out there," he said, turning on the charm, his Irish brogue thick, making her blush furiously as she looked at him again.
He faced her and offered a disarming smile, to which she responded by lowering her gaze quickly.
"I couldn't stand to see a lady missing out on the night's fun. Would you care to dance, miss?" He held out a hand, invitingly.
"I—well, that is—" she stammered.
She looked around her, as if for reassurance, but no one was paying any attention to them.
"Miss?" She turned back to him and he stared intently at her.
Never blinking, her unease seemed to melt away. She slowly placed her hand in his, smiling shyly.
"Yes, Sir, I would like that very much, thank you."
He grinned and brought her to her feet, leading her in the direction of the dance floor. The night was going perfectly. He may not be as talented as Dru, but Angelus could count on his unusual charm to go a long way with vulnerable young women like this one. Her attention switched from him to Drusilla for a moment, but quickly snapped back to him when he pulled her closer and smiled down at her, leading her into the dance. Casting a quick look around the room, he noticed that Darla and her new friend had disappeared. He smirked to himself, before turning his attention back to his own little plaything. She was completely captivated by him. His fangs itched and he imagined what she'd look like soon enough, writhing beneath him in agony and fear, while he buried himself in her, his fangs tasting the sweet young life that flowed through her veins.
He was so focused on these thoughts that it took him a moment to realize his senses were bristling warningly. Frowning, he scanned the room, but could see no reason why he should suspect a threat. He focused harder. The smell of the crowd's intoxication and arousal mixed with the sweat of their bodies was making it difficult, but eventually he caught it; a vaguely familiar scent.
"Is something the matter?" the girl asked, looking at him with concern.
"No, nothing. I thought I saw someone I used to know, but I must have been mistaken. Come, let's get some air and we can talk more. It's getting crowded in here." He didn't wait for her reply, but guided her off the floor and through crowded rooms, taking the long way to the terrace, hoping to pinpoint the scent he wasn't sure he'd really caught.
They made it to the terrace without any sign of the Hunter Angelus thought was present. Angelus prided himself on his patience in a hunt. Perhaps it was the anticipation of facing the vengeful Hunter that explained why he thought he'd sensed him here. They nudged their way through the people standing near the door outside where they could view the garden.
"Are you all right?" the girl asked when he came to a halt on the terrace, taking in the cool night air.
He turned to her with a reassuring smile. Taking hold of her elbow, he guided her to stand beside him next to the railing.
"Perfectly fine, now I get to enjoy your company out here on this fine evening. Tell me, my dear, what is your name?"
She blushed again. He was being too familiar by society's standards, but she was clearly unused to such interest, and he knew she would never turn away from his attentions, as long as he remained respectful—which he would, for now.
"It's Ethel, Ethel Holiday. And you are?"
"Ethel. What a charming name for such a lovely creature." He grinned again, a little more wolfishly.
He was moving steadily closer to her, pressing her against the railing, enjoying the suddenly anxious look crossing her face when he felt something hard smash against his back and something wet began soaking into his coat. It began to sizzle and smoke and he yelped in pain realizing he'd just been splashed with holy water. He leaped away from Ethel, who jumped as well and darted away from him, watching wide eyed as he struggled out of his jacket, smoke rising from both his back and the discarded garment. The small group of guests gathered behind them backed away from him quickly, their eyes wide. He looked up snarling and they parted like the red sea, turning anxious eyes to a man behind them in the narrow doorway.
"I think you should go back inside, Miss. The gentleman and I have something to discuss."
Angelus scowled at Will who stood opposite him, clutching another bottle of holy water in one hand, no doubt having hurled the first over the crowd when he saw Angelus closing in on the girl. His other hand was hidden behind his back underneath his jacket, no doubt holding a stake which he very well may have attempted to use were it not for the people blocking his path. Angelus consoled himself with the thought that had his attacker gotten closer, his senses would have alerted him to danger sooner. The man looked haggard, and he was lacking his usual spectacles. Ethel's head darted from one to the other as she backed away slowly from the standoff. She reached the doors and with a parting glance at them both, spun and rushed back inside to the party. The small group gathered between the men decided it would be wise to join her and hurried past Will, leaving Angelus and he to their discussion.
"I thought I sensed you, boy. Not very smart, coming here and attacking me like this. You don't fear for the crowd's safety then?" Angelus asked, recovering his composure after the sudden attack and smirking at his adversary.
"The crowd isn't very safe whether I'm here or not. That girl wasn't very safe, was she?" Will responded, calmly.
"Ethel? We were just getting to know each other. She was rather lonely, until I paid her some attention. You've likely gone and ruined the most exciting night of her life."
"I don't doubt it, but somehow I don't think it's the type of excitement she'd like. She's better off alone than in your hands."
"I suppose I can't argue with that. Of course, there's always the risk that I'll massacre everyone here just because of your interruption. Did you like all those little messages I left for you? I was surprised you escaped that fire. You earned some respect for that. I don't waste that kind of artistry on just anyone. How was it, seeing your mother walking about perfectly healthy again? Must have been a dream come true, eh?" Angelus chuckled.
Will tensed, flexing his fists. Angelus was disappointed when he didn't attack. Apparently the boy didn't want to play his game. Angelus stood to his full height, a few inches taller than Will, and smoothed down his shirt.
"Are ya just going to stand there and glare at me all day or are ya going to try something heroic and stupid?"
"I haven't decided yet. I was thinking that this might not be the place for us to resolve this issue between us. I was also contemplating dusting your consorts first. You killed those closest to me, so perhaps I should kill the only creatures that could be considered the equivalent of close to you…" Will slowly brought his stake into sight.
Angelus watched the movement of the stake in Will's hand. He grinned again, meeting Will's gaze once more.
"You think it would hurt me if they died? Vampires don't feel. It would be a shame, having spent as much time with them as I have, but not painful. Besides, do you really think they'd be any easier to kill? Darla is older than I am, and Drusilla has many tricks up her sleeve that would have you powerless in an instant."
"So you're the weak one then?"
Angelus snarled and Will smirked. Angelus had his pride. He didn't like to be goaded.
"Watch your mouth, boy."
"You're awfully confident I came alone, aren't you? Tell me, when did you last see Darla? She's been missing for quite a while now, hasn't she?"
Angelus narrowed his eyes dangerously.
"She's off with her latest conquest. Don't try to trick me, William. It won't help you."
"And you're sure that was just some harmless gentleman she was with? There are still a few Hunters left alive. You've made it clear you aren't going to let any of us live. Do you really doubt that they'd all want to make a last stand? They don't have anything to risk anymore. Far better we do as much damage to you and your companions as possible. You might be old and powerful but you have the same weaknesses any vampire has. Holy water, crosses, sharp pieces of wood all are very effective. I wouldn't be as confident as you that she's safe. Anyone can fall into a trap, Angelus. You just need the right bait, don't you?"
"You're bluffing. Darla wouldn't fall for such tricks, and your Hunter friends are cowards. I saw as much that night at the barn."
"You know nothing about Hunters, Angelus. The ones that are still alive are the ones that have nothing to lose. You're just another threat. They don't fear death."
"Is that so? That's not the impression I got when they begged for their lives in front of me. They pleaded for me to spare them, vowed to give up hunting my kind if only I would allow them to live. Perhaps it's you who doesn't know Hunters. What they're like when they see death in front of them? Unafraid? It's very much the opposite. Maybe what you need is a demonstration." Angelus flew at Will suddenly, taking him by surprise.
Will sidestepped at the last second, leaning back to avoid the vampire's grasp as an arm whipped out to grab him. Angelus halted quickly and spun. Will grabbed another bottle of holy water and tossed it at Angelus who growled and held up a hand to protect his face, skidding to a stop just in time. The bottle fell short of him and smashed on the ground at his feet. Angelus removed the hand from his face as Will struck with the stake. Angelus blocked with his arm, sending Will's arm high and to the side, so that it missed the heart but connected with Angelus' face.
Angelus hissed in pain, allowing Will to maneuver away from him before he could retaliate. Rising back to full height, Angelus lowered his head slightly and glared at Will. He raised a hand and gently touched the wound on his cheek, examining the red wetness on his fingers. He raised the hand to his mouth, licking the blood off his fingers.
"Been a long time since a human made me bleed. Congratulations. But it will be the last bit of demon blood you ever spill."
"I wouldn't count on it."
Angelus struck again and Will dodged, but wasn't fast enough to avoid the kick to his midsection that sent him slamming back against a wall. In the next second Angelus pinned him. One hand gripped Will's wrist and squeezed so tight it broke Will's grip on the stake, sending it clattering to the ground. Angelus' other arm was across Will's windpipe, cutting off his air supply.
"You are really starting to annoy me. I had great plans for you, Hunter, but now you've gone and made me angry. Perhaps a quick death is in the cards for you after all—shame that." Angelus was breathing heavily through flared nostrils for effect.
"Angelus? Isn't this a little out in the open for a crowd you weren't planning on massacring or have those plans changed?"
Angelus turned at the sound of the female voice and saw Darla sauntering towards him, wiping a trickle of red from the corner of her lips. She looked at Will curiously, eyeing him from head to toe before turning back to Angelus for an answer.
"Darla? You didn't run into any trouble?" Angelus asked.
"Trouble? No, none at all. I've been enjoying a rather rich, full-bodied gentleman actually." She replied with a feline smile, adjusting one of her gloves.
Angelus took this in and turned back to Will, an evil smile on his face.
"So you were bluffing after all. I've got to hand it to you, boy, you had me going for a minute. You've got guts, but alas, no brains. Making me cross isn't going to make staking me any easier. It'll actually just make it harder and much worse for you."
"Wait, this is the Hunter you've spent so much time on? I thought he looked vaguely familiar. My, my, all those little gifts of yours got to him at last did they? Rather barbaric to attack during a party if you ask me. I guess it's true what they say about Hunters not having any class, though with a little work he could almost pass for a gentleman." Darla commented with a second glance at Will.
"What now, you kill me in front of all these people and put an end to this?" Will spat out, gasping in as much air as he could.
Angelus grinned and Darla sauntered up behind him to run her hands across his back and over his shoulders then down his arms. Leaning in so her chin rested on one of his shoulders, she gave Will a hungry look, licking her lips.
"Darla, be a dear and fetch Drusilla, would you? I think it's time we went home. This party is starting to bore me, and I know of much better ways we could be spending our time."
Darla started to walk away slowly, keeping her eyes on Will, eating up the anger and hatred pouring off him in waves.
"She still hasn't finished toying with her pet," she said pausing at the door.
Angelus' eyes flickered over to her then back to Will.
"Tell her we have a new pet to play with back home. Something a whole lot better than the weak-willed youth she's been dancing with."
Darla disappeared in search of Drusilla, leaving Angelus and Will alone on the balcony. Will glared at Angelus who pulled Will away from the wall, grabbed both his arms and twisted them behind Will's back in a solid grip.
"We're going to have us some real fun now, boy. Let's see how far I can push you before you break. I'll have you pleading for your life soon enough, and then we'll see if a Hunter doesn't fear death. But you won't get it as easily as they did. First, I'll make you fear it until you'll beg me for it."
Angelus shoved Will forward and soon they were moving through the appalled crowds, shocked at the sight of Angelus without his jacket pushing the ill looking man before him. Once he'd forced Will outside, Angelus dragged him to where Darla and Drusilla were waiting for them near the coaches. Drusilla glided toward Will, stopping just in front of him. She seemed to focus on a spot just above his head. Raising a hand she caressed the air around his face and smiled.
"Such a pretty little plaything. Mummy will have such fun with you. A storm approaches and everything changes tonight."
"Don't call me that," Darla snapped, crossly, folding her arms in a huff.
"We'll all get our fair share of fun with him, Dru, not just Darla. But I have a few lessons to teach him first." Angelus assured his childe, hauling Will up into a coach.
The smell of death permeated the lavish room as Will was shoved through the house the vampires had nested in. The curtains were drawn to block out the morning sun and bodies lay on the floor, the puncture marks in their necks still relatively fresh.
"I do apologize for the state of our abode, but I wasn't expecting to have you as a guest tonight, and I may have eaten the housekeeping," Angelus said conversationally, shifting into his vampire features as he dragged Will further into the house.
Will refused to answer, struggling uselessly as Angelus easily escorted him downstairs to the cellar. It was pitch black and only the vampire's grip on him prevented Will from falling and breaking his neck on the cellar stairs. Once at the bottom, firm hands spun him around until his back was pressed against a wall, his arms yanked above his head. He felt heavy metal shackles close around his wrists, securing him to the wall. Similar shackles were placed on his ankles and he heard the vampire move away. In the next instant, there was a loud rattling noise and his arms were jerked roughly upward. He cried out as he was pulled so his feet hung a few inches off the floor, his arms straining under the weight of his own body. He groaned in agony, then gritted his teeth, unwilling to give Angelus the satisfaction he craved from Will's pain.
"May as well get used to hanging there like that. You're going to be in that position for a long time." Angelus' voice drifted out of the blackness.
There was the sound of someone striking a match, then a faint flicker of light in the distance. The light grew gradually, until Will could make out Angelus' shadowy form, moving about the room lighting more of the candles in what Will could only assume was to become his torture chamber. Will watched with narrowed eyes as Angelus approached, then veered to the side, coming to a halt near a table covered with a grimy cloth. Angelus lifted the cloth slowly, revealing several very pointy, dangerous looking implements. Judging from the blood staining some of the items, Will supposed he wasn't the first guest to be brought down here since the vampires had made it their home.
"Some of these tools I've had to bring with me on my travels. There are some items you can't find just anywhere. Those barbaric, savage lands abroad people talk about—some of them have the best tools for torture ever envisioned," Anegelus remarked, picking up a nasty blade and running a finger along the razor sharp edge, before laying it reverently back down on the table. "And then, there are the ancient devices used by those who would proclaim themselves deliverers of justice. Religious, pious, and generally upstanding citizens. If I had to choose between the cruelest methods of punishment, I'd have to say they come out on top. Ironic isn't it? Those who see themselves as ideal models of society are actually the most barbaric, monstrous creatures on Earth."
"People are harsh, cruel, vindictive, and flawed, but not all of them. They realize their mistakes and learn from them. We will continue to evolve into better creatures. You vampires and demons are cruel for the sake of being cruel. There's nothing redeeming or innocent in you. You are the mistakes, the true monsters on this Earth," Will answered, grimacing as his shoulders strained with the slight movement of turning to see his persecutor better.
"True, but people will never learn to stop hurting each other. There will always be war, famine, destruction, and all brought about by the hands of men, not demons. You think us savage? We just enjoy the chaos you bring upon yourselves. I use the tools given to me by my demon—" Angelus shifted into his vampiric face again, "but the tools men created are more fun, so I use them too. It can bring so much more pleasure to break a man with their own inventions than it can to use what nature intended.
"You aren't natural. You're an abomination," Will spat, venomously.
Angelus chuckled, shifting back to his human mask as he picked up a rather nasty knife from the table and approached Will.
"Who knows the truth of my origins? I exist the same as any other creature in this miserable world. I could debate theology and science with you all day and it would get us nowhere, but we have more pressing business to attend to."
Angelus proceeded to cut Will's jacket and shirt off, revealing the smooth, muscular skin beneath. He studied the faint scars marring patches of Will's chest. The most noticeable came from the wound Will had sustained in the first trap Angelus had set for him. Examining the blade of the knife again, Angelus met Will's eyes with a smile before quickly slashing the blade across Will's stomach, making a shallow wound, no deeper than a paper cut. Will shouted at the sudden pain, gritting his teeth. Angelus cocked his head to the side as a trail of blood began to rise along the shallow cut, slowly streaming down to trickle across his skin. The smell of blood made Angelus grin with satisfaction and he brought the knife across Will's flesh again, down his side this time. Will was prepared for the second cut and though it stung as much as the first had, he kept his mouth shut and refused to make any noise. This amused Angelus, who proceeded to make cut after cut with the knife.
Each wound was small and shallow, but shockingly painful. Each time Will refused to cry out in pain, but the effort was making him sweat, and the salty liquid stung his wounded body which was now smeared red with his blood. He was breathing heavily and his muscles tensed every time Angelus raised his knife. He sighed in agony when Angelus finally dropped the knife back on the table and wiped his hands with the cloth.
"I think that's enough to get us started tonight. I have women that need seeing to, but we'll pick this up fresh tomorrow." He winked, extinguished the light from the candles and walked back upstairs, leaving Will to hang suspended from his chains, blood and sweat trickling down his body making him cringe and groan in pain.
At that moment Will wasn't sure if it would be better to try to slip into unconsciousness now or struggle to stay awake so that he might be exhausted enough to pass out when Angelus came back for the next lesson in bodily torment. He had a feeling Angelus preferred his victims to stay awake to suffer his torture sessions. Wincing again from the strain on his arms and the maddeningly sore yet shallow cuts that mutilated his body, he doubted if sleep would come to him at all. He only hoped the others had escaped the vampires' clutches and gotten somewhere far away and safe before news of their departure spread. The surprise on Angelus' face at seeing Will was a good sign that their movements hadn't been tracked yet. If everything went according to plan they would now be able to search for the traitor at a safe distance and re-organize the Hunters. Will's own luck had run out.
The blackness surrounding him in the cellar was stifling and being unable to move wasn't helping him fight his feelings of claustrophobia. Time passed slowly and he wondered if this was one of Angelus' methods of torture; driving his victims insane from hours spent in silent darkness. He was unsure if he had imagined a noise in the distance and listened harder. He could have sworn he heard the swish of cloth, but it was far too dark to see, and he was positive that if someone was moving around down here that it wouldn't be a good thing. Light flickered and drew closer, and squinting at the change in his surroundings, Will finally realized he wasn't alone after all. Drusilla approached him slowly, a candelabra in her hand throwing a yellow light across her ghostly pale skin, her face the only piece of her visible since she was adorned in black.
"Come to have your fun now, have you?" Will asked, hoarsely.
She raised a gloved finger in front of her face and slowly wagged it back and forth before pressing it to her lips. Leaning in closer, she sniffed his blood-stained chest. He leaned away from her as much as the chains would allow, ignoring the pain, but she followed his movements. Her tongue darted out to delicately lick a trail up his chest, lapping up the congealing blood. She hummed to herself, eyes closed, as if savoring his flavor. Opening her eyes, she looked deep into his own then leaned even closer to whisper to him.
"Daddy has his plans for you, but there shall be no unwrapping of the present. Not before the party—naughty Daddy. My Dark Prince must awaken then we shall have such fun together."
"So you've come for a chat then? Just what I needed. An insane vampire for company."
"Hush, brave Knight. I've not come for stories. Tonight, I change the game." She smiled then changed, so that he was faced with yellow eyes that zeroed in on his neck.