Halloween Ficcy: Based loosely on the events of the BtV episode Halloween. Ethan puts a spell on the costumes he rents out. Angel becomes Angelus, Spike becomes Dracula and poor Buffy's still a helpless noblewoman. Or is she? Appearances can be deceiving. Welcome to my new smutlet, Masked.
Canon? What canon? Bleh. I said loosely based. Don't expect anything and don't read if you want it to stick to canon rules *rolls eyes*. It's a smutlet, for goodness sake! All I promise is pRon! (although not in this chapter)
Rating: NC17 baby, although just PG-13 this chapter
Author: Hang Nga
Spoilers: Always. I don't really keep track, but if you haven't watched the early season eppy where the scoobies turn into their costumes, this would spoil you. Of course, so would this spoiler warning. *sigh*
Distribution: Ask first: hang_nga_79 at yahoo.ca Vampire's Kiss, Nocturnal Light, Sinister Attraction, The Gutter (Sandlot), BS Diaries, Darkness before Dawn and Lost in Spike already have blanket permission.
BETAs: These guys are the best! Thanks so much to xtie615, spikeskat, illuxi and essie07. Any mistakes left are mine.
Feedback is always wanted and much appreciated!
And so we begin...
There was blood on his shirt.
Well bloodstains, specifically, and old ones at that. Faded brown spots along the bottom edge that had seeped into the fabric despite innumerable washings to lift them from the once pristine garment. Out damn spot, out!
This shirt had once been a part of his favourite outfit. Unfortunately, his matching trousers had been ruined beyond repair, soaked in the same blood that had spotted his shirt. Although he'd forgotten her face, he knew the blood had come from a noblewoman, for he wouldn't have dressed so finely to murder a prostitute. His demon may be callous, but it was ever practical.
Tucking the stained shirt hem in his pants and out of sight, Angel shoved the disturbing memory from his thoughts. Nothing could wash the blood out, not even guilt. He'd learned that painful lesson long ago. It was only through Buffy that he'd discovered saving others from demons like him made the stains fade from memory.
Buffy gave him purpose in helping her to fulfill her own destiny. She'd dragged him from the directionless path he'd been wandering ever since the gypsies had cursed him with his tattered soul, much worse for wear. Twitching his lips upwards, Angel mockingly smiled at his own melodramatic phrasing. 'Directionless path he'd been wandering?' More like, 'wallowing in self pity.' All those years he'd wasted, and would have continued to squander, if she hadn't came and given him purpose.
Ironically, she didn't know she was his savior; thought that he saved her instead. Innocent. That would be the nice way to describe it. But nice things were gobbled up by creatures such as he. Naive, ignorant... foolish. She was all of those things, learning her way through the world he'd grown weary of long before her birth, a mere sixteen years ago.
Sixteen. He bit back a surge of guilt that welled up at the thought of her tender years, swallowing convulsively, as if his conscience had lodged itself in his throat. Grabbing a bag of blood from the fridge and puncturing it, he thickly gulped the cold liquid down, inwardly berating himself.
His conscience. His once shiny soul. It resided in his chest, not his throat. Wrapped around his heart like a too-tight band, it squeezed and sliced into the dead organ. It hurt. Never mind that the useless lump in his chest had ceased to beat; the soul had brought his senses to life. The soul made him feel all the things he'd long since forgotten...
And she made him feel more than anyone else. With her sweet first love, given freely. She burned brightly, the antithesis of the very monsters she returned to the earth in a shower of dust each night. And he, like any proper creature of the dark, was drawn to her light, perversely attracted to something so different. So pure.
Flattening a few wrinkles from his shirt, Angel repeated that last word to himself. Pure. Pure and moralistic; Buffy had a simplistic viewpoint, black & white ideals with which only the young are gifted: Vampires, bad. Slayer, good. With a bitter twist of his collar to straighten it, Angel thought of how his presence must have skewed her uncomplicated perception of things. It was unfortunate; she had been right. Vampires may be drawn to her light, but only because they wanted to extinguish it.
His own demon wanted to snuff out her brightness. Helping her do good burned the evil inside him out, cauterizing the demon still rotting within. She made him care about the world in a way he'd never been capable of before and it was that caring that helped him fight off his demon. For the moment, at least , the demon's influence had been reduced to ashes.... Too bad a metaphorical flame couldn't purge him of it's presence forever, no matter how much he might wish it.
And what had he'd given her in return? He'd taken her friendship and acceptance and her first kisses. But he'd offered nothing back. Oh, he protected her from physical harm when possible. He'd even begun to patrol ahead of her some nights, clearing out the particularly nasty monsters before she made her rounds with him later. But compared to what she offered him, the repair of his soul, his protection dwindled down to a few lucky punches.
Deep down, he knew he was as much of a monster as the Vampires she staked in Sunnydale's dark alleys and cemeteries. He'd rushed to take the life of the young noblewoman who's blood had marked his haste with the permanent stains on his shirt. In much the same way, he'd rushed to take everything Buffy had offered him... not giving forethought to the cost. If her blood was spilt, this time, it would leave an eternal stain on his soul.
He was acutely aware that he could still walk out of her life, taking his burdens, and the demon, with him. But guilt and regret couldn't make him leave her. It wasn't only his demon that was selfish.
And that was how tonight had come about. Dressing up in these aged clothes; a shirt he'd never thought to wear again, although he'd been unable to throw it away. After glimpsing Buffy's old fashioned costume, transparently rented with him in mind, he'd decided to surprise her by wearing his own century dress, renting suitable pants to match his shirt from the costume store after she'd left. It would please him to give something back to her, this one small thing. He would be a gentleman for his lady. Put on the mask she wanted to see, grateful that the demon was tucked away from sight, just like the bloodstain on his shirt.
Now she knew why women hadn't stood up for their rights in 18th century England. They couldn't possibly stand up unsupported with clothes that weighed this much, forget the vote! And even if they could stand, breathing was practically impossible, thus rendering speech a waste of precious air. Heaving herself off her bed, Buffy tottered in front of her mirror, giving her costume a quick once over.
Pretty. Delicate layers and feminine details, she noted, running her hands down the ornate fabric. And absolutely impractical for a Slayer, her thoughts chirped in, sounding horrifically like Giles. Oh God! Since when had she begun to worry about the practicalities of Slaying?
Determined not to think Slayer thoughts, especially since Halloween was supposed to be her official night off, she picked up the last piece of her costume to put on. Giving the frilly black garter a dubious stare, she haphazardly flipped her skirts up and slipped it onto her thigh. Righting herself, she reached under her skirt to adjust the garter further, accidently snapping it's elastic band back on her skin.
Great. Vampires beware! I'll attack you with my dangerous... garter, she thought, picturing herself launching the silly bit of lingerie at Vampires in slingshot style.
God knows why she'd bothered to wear it. Nobody would actually see her garter. Well, Angel might get a quick glimpse of it if she bent over to pick up her purse... Turning around and bending at the waist, Buffy peered behind her at the mirror to see if the garter peeked out from beneath her skirts. It didn't. Disappointed, she straightened and wondered if the rental place would keep her deposit if she cut off the extra yards of material swirling down to her ankles. Say, to mid-thigh?
Angel had better appreciate all the effort she was going to for him. It was so difficult trying to surprise a guy with his kind of past. He'd seen, and done, it all. She saw right through his smiles when she tried to surprise him, to the bland acceptances they really were. He just didn't expect anything new from her.
Annoyed, Buffy picked up her brush and began to vigorously brush her hair. It was rather vexing to be thought as predictable as Cheerios for breakfast. Not that she could compete with him in the shock department. Secret fanged club membership? Kinda untoppable. Or at least it was when you found out about it the way she had. Surprise of the year. Of the decade. She'd never close her eyes during a kiss again.
Fear had froze her in place for an endless moment when she'd looked at him with his human mask distorted by the demon. Those cold, golden eyes had reflected every ounce of hatred his demon had felt for her before Angel had taken back control over himself and disappeared out her window. Although she'd never seen that hate again, even when Angel Vamped during patrols, it was engraved in her mind. That was one Vampire she didn't want sneaking up on her.
Shaking off the memory, Buffy reached over for her lip gloss. Her eyes darted down to the little square of waxed paper next to it, a guilty blush suffusing her already coloured cheeks. The paper was the backing of a temporary tattoo she'd bought yesterday from the costume store where she'd rented this antiquated get-up. Stupid, impulsive purchase! Of course, she'd hurried home to apply the tattoo right away, fussing for over half and hour to determine exactly where she wanted to place it. Given it's wording, placement was crucial. And now, with her recent unsettling thoughts, Buffy had to fight not to rush to the bathroom and scrub it off.
The tattoo was a joke, meant to show Angel she had gotten over the kiss. Fully recovered. No worries. Well, maybe little worries, like now, but he didn't need to know that. She was the Slayer. Supernatural strength and unerring aim with a stake were her gifts. Fear over a few bumplies? Ridiculous. Applying a final touch of lip gloss to her lips, Buffy told herself not to get worked up over this again. She was just being silly.
Fastening a wide, beaded choker over the tattoo to hide it for now, she forced herself to smile in the mirror. She was going to have fun. Relaxation, candy, and if she was lucky, some private time with Angel, where he could discover her little tattoo.
No worries. Even if she kept her eyes open the entire time.
Spike eyed the jar of black goop with distaste. Pinching a bit of the cold gel, he rubbed it experimentally between his fingers. The dark stain it left wasn't encouraging. Especially when it refused to rub back off.
"Didn't they have anything other than this... tar?" He could have just mixed molasses and cement to get the same effect. Complete with glue-like stickiness.
"It's not tar," replied the minion holding the jar up. Looking down and away from Spike's annoyed gaze, he defensively added, "This is all they had. The guy said it'd wash out with a couple of shampoos."
Spike rolled his eyes, but nonetheless scooped some of the tar out of the jar and slapped it onto his platinum head. Working the substance through his hair, he asked, "What guy?"
"The owner of the costume shop. He recommended it when I bought the cape. Said it'll really make the look authentic. Gotta have Dracula's black hair to go with..."
Spike's look of disbelief made the minion mumble the rest of that sentence. "You paid for the costume? Did you leave the bloke a damage deposit too?"
The minion wisely interpreted that there was no right answer to Spike's question.
Promising himself that he'd leave this particular underling in charge of watching Dru while he was gone, Spike slicked back his black hair. Dru's guards had been meeting with tragic accidents of late. His pet was bored of being confined by her illness.
Using the minion's shirt to wipe the excess goop off his fingers, Spike asked, "How does it look?"
Spike snorted. "Pulitzer Prize in your future?" He just received a blank look. Giving up, Spike reached over for the cloak that had came with the hair tar, dramatically throwing it over his shoulders and tying it on. The cape was a grand affair; made of rich fabric that fell down to the floor, it covered up most of his usual jeans and t-shirt attire. From a distance it would be a fairly good disguise.
And that's all he needed it for. Cover at a distance. It was Halloween; official night off for all beasties, even Vampires. But that didn't mean he was prevented from keeping an eye on the Slayer. In fact tonight, when her guard would be down, was the perfect time for him to do his homework.
Spike turned away so the minion couldn't see his smile of pleasure as he thought of tracking the Slayer tonight. She'd been more of a challenge than his other two, although he'd yet to see if she fought as good as the last one. He needed to dance with her a bit longer, test out more of her moves.
He felt a twinge of guilt when he thought of his dark angel staying here with the minions while he hunted the Slayer. Before, Dru had always been able to join in, helping him to celebrate when he bagged another Slayer. But now, with her illness, he couldn't share it all with her like they used to do. It felt like a illicit pleasure to continue enjoying the hunt while Dru languished. As if he should abruptly end the chase, denying himself the amusement a lengthy pursuit would afford.
And that was the problem, wasn't it? The chase was a pleasure. He'd even been having dreams. The damn Slayer haunted his thoughts while he slept beside his unknowing princess.
Spike clenched his hands with frustration and growled quietly, a rumble that kept the rest of the minions at a distance. Ever since the mob had nearly dusted Dru, their relationship had been eroding. Her weakened condition made intimacies more vigorous than kisses impossible. He remembered that time against the wall after the first Slayer. The release had been incredible. All that adrenaline after the fight, the taste of the dead Slayer's blood and the look of pride, of pure lust, in Dru's eyes...
Eyes that never really looked at him anymore.
Unclenching his fists, Spike pushed the memories aside. It didn't matter. He'd kill this Slayer, same as the rest. He been alive long enough to know better than to let a few hormone-driven dreams control him.
This Slayer was going to learn the price of getting under his skin.