A Battle of Wills
Chapter 10: A Battle of Wills
The morning after their night out it took longer than usual for the Slayer to come down and let Spike out for the day. When the door to his cell finally opened, it revealed a Slayer who looked like she hadn't slept a wink.
As she let him out she wouldn't even look him in the eye, so he reached out to touch her shoulder. "Look, Slayer-"
She shrugged off his hand then looked up at him with shame filled eyes. "I'm sorry okay. It won't happen again," she said defensively.
"You won't what? Run out on me again?" he asked.
"No, I won't. I shouldn't have kissed you. It was wrong and I'm sorry. Can we just. . . not talk about it."
She tried to turn away, but he wouldn't let her. "No, we can't just not talk about it. And for the record, you didn't kiss me, I kissed you."
"But I liked it," she protested. "And we can't do that. You're my slave and I shouldn't have forced you to do that for me."
"You didn't force me to do anything!" Spike yelled in frustration. The fact that he'd raised his voice startled both of them and a moment of awkward silence fell between them. "Look," he said more calmly. "I wanted to kiss you. Any fellow who isn't blind would want to kiss you. So what's the problem?"
"But what if I want something you don't want? You can't say no to me. I can have anything I want, and it isn't right."
"Oh?" he asked amazed at this bizarre moral crisis she was having. "And forcing me to fight or die, there's no problem with that?"
"I didn't make you a slave," she shot back.
"No, but you could let me go if you wanted to," he replied angrily. "Don't pretend to care about what happens to me."
"I can't let you go," she said quietly.
He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her body flush against his. "Well then, the least you could do is make my captivity a little more fun, don't you think?"
He leaned in to kiss her again, but she pushed him away. The next thing he knew her fist was smashing into his face. He stumbled back into his room, and a moment later she had shut the door in his face.
It was only once the silence of his tiny room surrounded him that he remembered that he was supposed to be trying to seduce her, not win an argument with her. What he couldn't understand is why she seemed so upset by the whole idea.
He had no doubt she was physically attracted to him, and they seemed to get along well enough considering she had no personality to speak of. Although he had hopes for the girl, if he could only get her to relax, to enjoy life a bit, maybe let her guard down. Of course getting her guard down was the whole point of seducing her in the first place.
But why was she so opposed to the whole idea? Was it because he was a vampire and she was the Slayer? That seemed unlikely since she didn't really understand what it meant to be a vampire slayer. On the other hand, for all he knew she had some built in revulsion to vampires. But she was attracted to him, and that seemed to disprove that theory.
It all came back to the fundamental mystery that she represented. If he only knew how she had ended up in The Center, or what she was still doing here he was sure it would all make sense. Unfortunately it seemed rather unlikely that she was going to feel like sharing any time soon.
He had plenty of time to consider the riddle of the Slayer because she didn't come back for him that day. Even when he pounded on the door and called out that he was sorry and would behave, the door remained shut. It seemed he had been sent to bed without his supper, not to mention breakfast and lunch.
He had no choice but to pace in his small room and try and figure out what he'd done wrong and what to do when he was next let out.
It wasn't until the next morning that the door finally opened.
"Make sure you eat enough to get your strength up; you have a fight today," she told him as she let him out.
As much as he wanted to talk to her, there was a no-nonsense tone in her voice, and he didn't fancy the idea of a battle to the death on an empty stomach.
Greedily he drank down his blood, all the while watching the Slayer for some opening he could use to talk to her. She was giving him the cold shoulder and he figured it would be best to wait until after the fight. He was bound to get a bit banged up after all, and maybe he could use that to get a bit of sympathy from her.
When his turn in The Circle came, for the first time he found himself fighting an opponent that wasn't bigger and stronger than him. The lithe demon he was fighting was faster however, and had some sort of venom in its claws that stung like a bitch.
It was a fight that he might have lost, had it not been for the training he'd gotten from the Slayer. Instead of going for the kill, he went for the pain. The demon tried to lure him into making a brazen attack, most likely because, like Spike he was used to fighting other demons whose main strategy was to smash things.
Spike didn't take the bait though. Instead he waited the demon out, until the demon attacked and Spike managed to grab his arm. Even as its poisoned claws dug into Spike's arm, Spike yanked with all his strength and managed to dislocate the demon's arm.
The demon howled in pain and backed off. Things got trickier after that. Spike's opponent was now more cautious, but Spike didn't let that bother him. He pressed the attack now, not giving the demon any quarter. He still didn't go in for the kill, but he tried to do everything in his power to increase the pain the demon was suffering from his arm.
Finally Spike managed to close in on the demon again. This time he went for the demon's legs, smashing in one of the demon's knees. The demon hit the ground writhing in pain and the crowed booed Spike. But before Spike could move in to finish off his opponent, the match was called.
It was the first time he'd won without killing his opponent. But the crowd didn't seem to care that they hadn't gotten to see anyone killed. Or rather they didn't care that he hadn't killed anyone. It seemed that he wasn't a favorite of theirs. Not that he cared precisely, but it would be nice to think that someone was on his side. If he was going to have to fight for their amusement, the least they could do was root for him.
When the Slayer came to get him after the matches were done, she wasn't much better. Not that he'd actually expected her to praise him; still, at least she could act like she was on his side.
As they were leaving The Circle a demon stopped them. For just a second Spike thought it was Clem, an old poker buddy of his, but then he realized that in fact it was just another demon of the same species.
"Ah, Slayer," the demon greeted her as if they were old friends. "Daryl asked me to speak with you."
At the mention of the name Daryl, stark terror ran through the Slayer. Although Spike couldn't see any difference in how she stood, he could smell the blanket of fear that now covered her and he wondered who this Daryl fellow was to inspire such fear. Whatever Spike's feelings for the Slayer, he did respect her, and if this Daryl fellow could scare the pants off of her, he seemed like the kind of fellow Spike wanted to get to know.
"Tain, you can tell Daryl that I don't have anything to talk to him about," she told the demon as she tried to walk by him.
Tain reached out a hand to stop her. "I understand, and so does he. That's why he asked me to talk to you, and it would be in your best interest to listen." She stopped and waited, although Spike could now see by the tension in her shoulders that she wanted to run. "Daryl wants an appointment with your vampire."
"You can tell Daryl to go fuck himself," the Slayer said with quiet venom. A bit of her fear had dissipated replaced instead by anger.
"I'm not going to tell him that and neither are you," Tain said in the patient voice of a parent explaining something to a child. "Daryl has half the commissioners in his pocket. If you want to continue in The Circle you have to 'accommodate' Daryl's eccentricities, however distasteful they are." She tried to ignore Tain and walk past him, but he stopped her. "Listen to me Slayer, do you think I like it? Do you think I liked taking you to him. You were my best fighter and he nearly ruined you. He has ruined quite a few slaves. But you need to worry about yourself, about your future, not your slave. Besides, the half-breed will probably enjoy it."
Spike growled. He might not be sure what they were talking about, but he knew two things: he was being insulted, and Tain should treat the Slayer with more respect.
For the first time, Tain looked at Spike and he chuckled. "I take it back. You've been training him yourself haven't you?" he asked the Slayer. "From what I understand of vampire mating rituals, he probably thinks you hitting him is a sign of affection. I'll tell Daryl you're considering his offer. And you will consider it. You don't really have any other choice."
With that Tain, or the arrogant-floppy-eared-bastard as Spike now thought of him, left.
"Come on," the Slayer said as she hurried him out of The Circle and back towards their home.
It was only once they were free of the crowd that Spike suddenly realized what it was that Tain had said. The Slayer had been one of his fighters. That meant she had been a slave in The Circle too. And suddenly the pieces started to fall into place.
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