A/N: I noticed from some of the reviews from last chapter that it wasn't clear to everyone what The Center was, either because I didn't explain it well in the beginning of the story, or maybe because I started this story so long ago. In either case, The Center isn't a different dimension, it's the mystical center of the one this Buffy and Spike are in. Sort of like the heart of their dimension or the center of the earth. So there isn't another Buffy for Spike to meet back in Sunnydale. As for Buffy I promise, she'll be back in the next chapter.
Chapter 15: Rats
Angel woke up to the sound of his own screams echoing off the cold stone walls of his room. As his eyes opened, he could see nothing but the darkness and that comforted him. In his nightmare, he had been in the White Place, and it was never dark there.
But he was safely locked away in his room. It was dark and underground and the floors and walls were just stone, but that was okay, because he was dead and he belonged in the earth.
However, there were a lot of rats. Angel didn't mind the rats except when he was hungry like he was now. Rat didn't taste so good, but it was better than nothing. The only problem was he couldn't eat rats anymore, not since they had done something to him in the White Place.
But he didn't want to think about the White Place, so he reached for his pencil and pad of paper. Drawing made him feel better, although sometimes Darla asked him about the things he drew and he didn't like that. When she asked him questions she often became Darla of the Hard Eyes. Darla of the Hard Eyes hit him, and said cruel things to him. Not like Sweet Darla who sat in his lap and let him drink from her neck.
His pencil scratched across the paper as he drew one of the people with clipboards. There had been many of them in his nightmare. He had been strapped down naked to a table. They shaved his head and stuck little circles with wires to his skull.
Then people with clipboards would hurt him in different ways.
He was a vampire, so some of the ways they hurt him he liked. Then the people would shake their head and scribble things down on their clipboards. But most of the ways they hurt him he didn't like, especially when they burned him with holy water and crosses. Then the people would chirp excitedly and compare the things they had written on their clipboards.
He could feel Darla coming near. She had been gone but now she was back. Maybe that was why he had had the nightmare. It was easier to forget about the White Place when she was around.
He hoped it was Sweet Darla that was coming to see him. When he first got away from the White Place he had gone to Darla, because he was hurt and hungry and he didn't know where else to go.
There had only been Darla of the Hard Eyes then. She beat him and said mean things to him. Then she chained him up in a different room and let the Strawberry Girl play with him. That wasn't as bad as the White Place. And as long as Darla didn't throw him out, it was okay. He just didn't want Darla to make him go away again because he had nowhere to go.
So when the Strawberry Girl would cut and burn him and call him Puppy he didn't mind too much, because when she did so she would begin to smell sweet. Sometimes a boy with brown hair would come and watch. Then he and the Strawberry Girl would fuck, and that was good too because Angel got to watch.
But it was better when she came by herself. She would rub him then until he got hard, if the torture hadn't already done it. Then she would ride him.
It became a race then. If he came first she would get very angry, and she would hit him and beat him, but he didn't care because the sex was worth it. If she came first though, she would tie him back up so he couldn't touch himself and leave, and he didn't like that as much.
It had gone on that way for a while, he didn't know how long, although he had gotten very hungry then because he couldn't feed. They didn't keep him alone in his cell; they put a pretty human girl in with him, and kept her well fed so she would taste healthy if he decided to bite her. He didn't want to bite her because he didn't do that anymore, but even if he wanted to he couldn't. Not since they had done something to him in the White Place.
But he figured out one day that the Darla of the Hard Eyes didn't know this. She didn't know about the White Place, and he had to tell her. He was scared that the soldiers in the White Place would get her like they got him. Then they would hurt her like they hurt him, and he thought they would do worse things to her. Darla of the Hard Eyes was very pretty. Even when she hit him he liked to look at her, and he remembered what the last soldier he had seen had said to him. "It's too bad we don't have any female vamps, but you'll do in a pinch."
The soldier had raped him then. Angel had tried to fight him, but whenever he tried to hurt the solider it felt like his head was exploding. The soldier thought Angel was helpless, that he could do anything he liked to Angel. But Angel was smart, and he remembered being Angelus, and he knew how to be mean and tough and hurt people.
He waited until the soldier was done, and lazy, and satisfied. Then Angel hit the soldier as hard as he could. Angel's head exploded all over again, and he nearly passed out, but then it started to pass. The soldier was unconscious, and Angel had to fight the urge to kick the solider. But his head still throbbed and he knew this was his only chance to get out of the White Place.
He ran then. There were lots of other demons in cells just like the one Angel had been in, but he ignored them. He didn't care about them, he just wanted out of the White Place. Luckily there weren't many of the soldiers about, only some of the people with clipboards. And when he showed them his other face and roared at them, they ran away, even though he couldn't hurt them.
So he didn't want the soldiers to get Darla. They would all think she was pretty, and they would try and touch her, and she wasn't theirs to touch.
She was getting closer now and Angel could hear her voice, which meant she wasn't alone. That was bad. Sweet Darla always came alone.
There had been no Sweet Darla, not until he had tried to bite the girl they had left with him in front of Darla of the Hard Eyes. Then she had seen what they did to him in the White Place, and she became Sweet Darla. Sweet Darla got angry too, but unlike Darla of the Hard Eyes, she wasn't angry at him.
She would say angry things and stroke his hair, and then she would let him bite her and feed. At first this had bothered Angel because he knew the blood she drank was human. But after a while he didn't care anymore. He just wanted her to come so he could touch her.
After she became Sweet Darla, she had moved him to another cell. No one but her came to see him in this cell, and she gave him paper to write on.
"It's not to keep him in," Angel heard her explain to someone. "It's to keep he others out, to keep them from hurting him."
The door to Angel's cell opened and there was Darla of the Hard Eyes. But it was the person behind her that had Angel struggling to his feet and growling.
He didn't like Spike. Spike was pretty, and knew how to say pretty things to women. Women liked it when you said pretty things to them, even Darla, and Angel wasn't any good with words. Besides something funny had happened to Spike's hair and it made him even prettier. That's when Angel realized that Spike must be here to take Darla away from him.
He tried to charge at Spike, but he was weak, and Darla was between them. She easily pushed him back to the ground. Then she did something strange, she grabbed one of the rats that was trying to scurry out of the way of the scuffle.
Darla didn't like rats, and normally she would never touch one. But now she was crouching in front of him holding the rat up to his face. He knew what she wanted and it surprised him. As cruel as Darla of the Hard Eyes could be, she had never tried to hurt him in this way. He turned his face away. He wasn't going to bite the rat; he didn't want to make the thing in his head hurt.
"It's okay," she told him. "Spike needs to see what they did to you. He's here to help."
Angel thought about that for a moment. He didn't like the idea of getting help from Spike. On the other hand, he didn't want Spike to end up in the White Place either. Spike was too pretty to go there. He didn't want the soldiers touching Spike any more than he wanted them touching Darla.
Reluctantly he complied with Darla's wishes and tried to bite the rat. His fangs barely got near the rat before the pain exploded through his head. He gripped his head in pain, and whimpered as he waited for it to pass.
He heard a thump and a squeal as Darla discarded the rat, and then Darla was holding him, running her hands through his too short hair.
"It's okay," she told him. "You see what they did to him? He can't fight, he can't bite, he can't even defend himself. They experimented on him, they took the last of his sanity. This is what they want to do to all of us."
She gently lifted his head and brought his mouth to her neck. Without any further prompting Angel sank his fangs in. He'd forgotten about Spike, about the White Place, about the soldiers. Darla was the only thing in his world. The only thing he needed.
Spike shuffled his feet uncomfortably. When Darla had first led him down here, he'd been angry at her. After a hundred years she'd finally told him about the gypsies and the soul. He should have known sooner, maybe he could have done something, found a way to help Angelus. At the very least he could have hurt those gypsies a lot more instead of just snacking on them.
Now, the anger was gone, replaced by a feeling of embarrassment. Watching this beaten-down, half-mad Angel feed from Darla was disquieting. It was rather like being forced to watch your parents fuck, and he wanted to be anywhere else.
In fact he wished they were fucking, that he could deal with. That was pretty normal for them, in fact he'd seen the two of them go at it hundreds of times. When they were away from human eyes, Darla and Angelus lost all sense of propriety and modesty.
But this was different, this was intimate. The truth was he'd never really thought of Angelus or Darla having any feelings for each other. They were more like two hedonists who found the other one was very good at scratching their itches. But Spike had never thought there was anything deeper.
In fact the two of them had always denied any such feelings. They liked to brag about the time Darla had left Angelus to die, as if it showed they were more evolved or something of the sort. But as Spiked watched this pieta, he could see they were just as tainted by love and tenderness as he and Dru had been.
Of course maybe part of him had always known that Darla and Angelus weren't the pure demons they claimed to be. And as uncomfortable as he felt right now, he knew this was worth something. He would be Darla's champion for as long as it took to get Angelus back on his feet. And then, they would all pretend none of this had ever happened.
If you are under the age of 17, please use your head and do not read fics that are labeled "NC-17". Parents, I cannot control what your children are reading, so please be advised that the majority of the fics archived here are NOT suitable for those under the age of 17.
I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I am in no way making any profit from this site. This is for pure entertainment purposes only.
Concept: (c)bringonthebloodshed.com (2004), Code & Design: (c)Diabola (2006), Graphics: Selene & Always