Author: spikes_heart and liliaeth in their first ever joint effort
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Pairing: Angel/Nina, Gunn/Anne, sort of S/B, with hints of A/B
Setting: One year post NFA
Disclaimer: If they were ours, would we be writing fanfic?
Feedback: Yes, please!
Archive: Ask us, nicely.
Warning: Not a B/A fic
A/N: Spoilers for the entire run of BtVS and AtS - our take on what happened after the lights went out
Beta'd by: A sneak appearance by Willa!
Summary: Before the Powers that Be withdrew from the playing fields, they made one last move with their favorite pawns - leaving Angel to clean up their mess.
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Beloved – Chapter 15 – The Unfriendly Skies
William trudged up the boarding gantry to the plane, fighting back tears. No way was he gonna let them see how very scared he was. A quick look around the interior found two large recliner-type leather chairs. He threw himself into the nearest seat, legs spread to take up the maximum amount of space.
“You’re not really my grandfather, are you,” he snarled at the man he’d begun to think of as Thing One; his false bravado dripping from each and every word.
“Get out of that chair, boy,” the old man spat, slapping at one of Will’s legs. “Out of that chair at once, I say.”
“Really, Roger… is it necessary to be so rough in handling him?”
Will snorted in response. “Guess that answers my question, you meany,” he mumbled, stumbling to his feet.
“I want that creature out of my sight, Nathaniel.”
Geeze, what’s his damage? Will allowed himself to be propelled to the back of the plane by Thing Two, once known as Uncle Nate, until he saw the metal bars surrounding a small cot.
“You’re gonna stick me in a cage?” he squawked, his bravery having fled. The enclosed area was just large enough for the cot and a small table. “Uncle Nate, what did I do? Please, don’t do this to me.”
“Be quiet, lad.”
“Oh, God. I’m sorry. Really, really sorry,” Will babbled, getting more frightened by the moment. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I’ll-I’ll do anything you want if you don’t make me go in there.”
“Nathaniel!” Thing One thundered. “I’m warning you… either shut the little beast up, or knock him out. We have an enormous amount of material to get through before we arrive back at the Council.”
Uncaring of what it made him look like, Will got down on his knees, trying desperately to pull his arm out of the older man’s grasp. “I’ll be good, I swear it,” he cried, eyes going wide with fright. He’d always hated cages. He couldn’t even stand to see the animals in zoos held behind bars.
Firmly, Thing Two pulled the resisting child into the enclosure and sat him down on the bed. “There’s no other way about this, lad. Make things easier on yourself and fall asleep. When you awaken, the trip will be over and I’ll let you out.”
“I just wanna go home, Uncle Nate. I want my mommy. Please!” Will added as an afterthought, hoping manners would make the difference.
“This is your last chance to be quiet on your own, child,” Thing Two’s voice softened the slightest but. “If you cannot hold your tongue,” he said, dragging a syringe filled with a pale blue liquid out of his pocket, “I’ll have to drug you.”
Without another sound, William crawled onto the cot, drawing the thin blanket over his shivering body. He wished he’d been allowed to bring a sweater. It was freezing in the back of the plane. Will tossed and turned, trying to find a comfortable position on the lumpy cot, but it wasn’t happening. They wanted him to fall asleep, and yet they wouldn’t turn off the lights in the cabin. It wasn’t fair. He was just a kid. What did he ever to do them?
It had been hours since he’d eaten, and his stomach was making growly noises. And to make things worse, if he didn’t warm up soon, he’d have to pee.
“Uncle Nate,” he called out as quietly as he could, not wanting to piss off Thing One… too much. “Can I have something to read? Or eat? And… and what happens if I need to use the bathroom?”
“I’ll come back in an hour with something for dinner, then let you out to use the loo. Try and sleep until then. And William, do not call me Uncle again. We are not related in any way.”
Will snapped. “What am I supposed to call you, then? Creep? That’s what you call a person who locks little kids up in cages. They taught us all about sickos like you… perverts!”
“Be quiet!” Thing Two stormed out of the little enclosure, slamming the door shut behind him.
Using the only thing left to him in his arsenal, Will broke down in tears. Great big shoulder wracking sobs that left him coughing as his throat clogged.
Nathaniel stood outside the enclosure impassively watching his captive. When the boy’s sobbing had slowed to sniffles, he returned to the front of the plane.
If looks could kill, Thing One would have had Thing Two’s head on a platter. The old goat handed over a bottle of something and turned his attention back to the papers before him.
His not-uncle returned to stand in front of the cage. “You will call me, as well as Mr. Wyndam-Pryce, ‘Sir’. I know either the vampire or your mother taught you some manners.” Thing Two unlocked the cell door and dragged William into the small bathroom. “Now, wash up and stop your crying. You’ll only make things harder on yourself in the long run.”
“Yes, Sir!” Will spat, with as much insincerity as he could manage. “Anything you say, Sir!” With a small salute, he turned to splash some cold water on his face.
“While you’re here, you might as well use the loo. This will be your last chance for quite awhile.”
“Do you have to watch me? Are you as big a perv as I thought?”
Nathaniel left the bathroom, closing the door behind him. When the toilet flushed, he peeked his head into the bathroom. “Make sure you rewash your hands, then it’s time for dinner.” He didn’t even bother trying to hide the narcotics bottle as he moved Will’s dinner from the kitchen area to the little table in his cell.
William tore into the baloney sandwich as if it were the finest steak. Bottled apple juice completed his feast. He leant against the wall of the cabin, trying to eavesdrop on the conversation taking place. It had his full attention for the moment.
“Our next step should be the retrieval of the Slayer,” Mr. Wyndam-Pryce insisted. “How that fool Giles could have left her in the vampire’s care for all these years is beyond me. The progress, if you can call it that in freeing her from the statue is minimal. There have only been two recorded attempts, yes?”
“That is true. Two sets of spells have been performed. The original effort was made in 2005, and stopped because of the effect it was having on the baby. At the time, their well-being appeared to be linked.”
”So, even as an infant, that demon’s spawn was causing trouble. If it weren’t for him, we’d have had Buffy Summers back under the aegis of the Council.”
Blah, blah, blah, that old man could talk. Rubbing at his head, William felt the first effects of the drugs in his system. He’d seen the bottle when Thing Two made his dinner, but he was so hungry. Besides, he reasoned, if they had wanted him dead, they wouldn’t be going through all this trouble to take him away from home.
The voices were growing indistinct and his body felt fuzzy, but William tried to hold on. The conversation was about him, and it might be important to his survival later on if he knew everything they were blaming him for.
More talk about Grandpa Giles… something about him not being a problem anymore. And Aunt Willow being away for years? A year? He was finding it harder to concentrate as the men droned on and on.
“You do know the vampire will try and call the Council about his son’s disappearance,” Nate the Traitor said. “Is the protocol in place for handling the creature?”
Thing One laughed. Or barked… Will was having a hard time telling the difference now.
“Have no worries, Nathaniel. He’ll only call Rupert, who, in his ineffectual state, might not even bother to answer the phone.”
“But what about Lydia? Surely my sister will…”
It’s like listening to a tennis match. Will slid slowly down the cabin wall, unable to sit upright.
“Do not believe for a single moment that we are in the wrong here, Chalmers. William the Bloody was one of the most despicable monsters that ever roamed the face of the earth. There is no reason to assume that things have changed because the creature is now masquerading as a human child.”
Huh? All he’d heard was his name and monster in the same sentence. He was ten years old. He went to school. Kept his room clean and listened to his parents. Why would that creep think he was a monster?
“It’s all masks and fog,” Thing One continued. “Using innocence as a disguise. It only proves my point about the evil inherent in it.”
Thing Two had an answer, of course, as Will’s head began to rock back and forth. He was losing ground here, he realized. Just a little longer, maybe… if he really tried.
“Well, at the very least he’s now under our influence. I wish there had been another way, however. Again, going against my brother was more unsettling than I’d thought.”
“Your brother is a fool,” Thing One said angrily. “I’m sorry, Nathaniel… a disgrace… Watcher line. Hugh was too weak… and still is. It’s the flaw… allowed the vampire to… thrall.”
“And the boy’s mother?”
“What kind of woman… sleeping with a vampire… another demon whore…”
An involuntary sob escaped Will’s lips at the slur against his mother. He’d already lost most of his concentration and his consciousness was fading. All he knew for sure was he wanted his mommy and daddy. He wanted to be safe in his own bed with Paddy bear. Wanted Bethany and Lotte… Hugh and… Alonna. He wanted to go home – the last thought he had before everything went black.