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The Tell-Tale Heart

Title: The Tell-Tale Heart
Author: jaune_chat
Fandoms: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog
Characters and/or Pairings: Spike, Dr. Horrible (gen)
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 2,155
Spoilers: General season 4 of Buffy/all of Dr. Horrible
Warnings: Violence, angst (lots of angst). Written as a pinch-hit for oneiriad for xover_exchange.
Disclaimer: Buffy and Dr. Horrible belong to Joss Whedon, not me.
A/N: Thanks to brighteyed_jill for betaing and canon fodder.
Summary: Spike goes to Dr. Horrible to see if he can get his damned chip removed. The price he’s asked to pay is not something he’s prepared for.



“Why’d you come to me?”

Spike glared at the impenetrable lenses of the so-called “Worst Villain Ever,” willing him to get as scared as any normal person should be in the presence of a vampire. Well, specifically in his presence. It hadn’t been that long ago that anyone with decent knowledge of the scary things in the world would have been scared shitless to be in the same room as him. He’d had a reputation…

“You’re supposed to be some kind of bloody genius,” Spike gritted out reluctantly.

Dr. Horrible crossed his arms and cocked his head in seemingly idly curiosity. “A chip in the brain is cybernetics. If you wanted the best in that field, you should have asked Professor Normal.”

Spike snorted in derision. “Anyone who replaces their own jaw with a bear trap isn’t someone I want mucking about in my head.”

“That’s fair,” Dr. Horrible allowed. He was still calm, far too calm, even for a professional. People who knew what Spike was, even people who knew he’d been neutered in terms of violence, still stunk of fear around him. The evil genius didn’t. Spike wasn’t sure if he just didn’t care or was honestly ignorant of the kind of damage Spike could do to a human, if he hadn’t had the damned chip in his head!

“Well? Are you going to do it or just stand around and try to look impressive? I have better things to do with my time if you need to practice your villainous poses.”

Dr. Horrible’s heart had barely even sped up at the insult. It was like he simply didn’t care one way or the other.

“I can do it. I’ll need components to create a device to extract it, some of which I’ll have to steal.” He paused and seemed to stare at Spike appraisingly through his heavy goggles. “Moist is on vacation for a week. You can help me get what I need.”

Spike ground his teeth together so hard he was afraid they’d split. “I. Can’t. Hurt. Anyone,” he said testily.

“Leave that to me.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spike had almost forgotten what it was like to have people run screaming from the sight of him.

Dr. Horrible might be suicidally calm in the company of a vampire, but he was a competent operator, using a fear ray to get people to flee the office building once anything even remotely scary showed up. Spike more than qualified. Wave after wave of shrieking office drones hurled themselves down the stairs, tumbling over each other in their haste to escape, all in blithe disregard for anyone they might be trampling.

A raw scent of blood underlay the thicker stench of fear by the time Dr. Horrible and Spike got to their floor, but Horrible seemed utterly unaffected. Spike was practically dying for a good, old-fashioned throat slashing and drinking from smelling that beautiful blood, and he hated Horrible more than a little for being so damned calm in the midst of all the violence.

“Vault five,” he said, pointing. “I need the prototype wiring arrays in there.”

“I thought you were the technical genius,” Spike said sarcastically. “I’m not a damned safe-cracker.”

“I thought you’d like to vent on something that couldn’t fight back.”

Spike narrowed his eyes; he hated being “handled.”

“Or I can just get it myself and you can go home. It doesn’t matter to me.”

Spike drew back his fist, and then had to grab his head as pain exploded behind his eyes. Horrible’s heart rate didn’t change an iota, even knowing Spike had just been prevented from rending him limb from limb.

“I’ll get the bloody thing,” Spike said tightly, and turned towards the vaults.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Wait here.”

Spike growled quietly at Dr. Horrible’s back, but couldn’t indulge himself any further retaliation without grenades going off in his head. He flung himself down on a bench outside the conference room with ill grace. Despite being an agent of chaos, a ridiculous amount of Horrible’s time was apparently taken up with going to Evil League of Evil meetings. That left Spike stewing outside with all the other henchmen.

Fury Leika’s four bridesmaids were whispering to each other, while Dead Bowie’s back-up singers alternately glared and stared at their sheet music. A tangle of oversized cobras writhed on one seat (Snake Bite’s pets), while next to them an utterly normal-looking mechanic with a metal hand tinkered idly with his cyborg foot joint.

“Who are you?”

Spike turned to look at the questioner and nearly laughed out loud. He hadn’t seen breeches and powdered wigs like that since before he’d been turned, and even then they’d been out of style. Must be one of Fake Thomas Jefferson’s boys.

“I said, who are you? Answer me!” the man demanded, nose in the air.

“Spike.”

Spike gleefully listened to the man’s blood thump through his veins in fury. He couldn’t drink it, and it was frustrating to have to listen without being able to taste, but if he couldn’t have it, at least he could have a little fun with this idiot…

“I have half a mind to-.”

“That’s obvious,” Spike broke in. The man’s eye twitched below his wig, and Spike wondered if he was going to have an aneurysm right here and now. Maybe drinking from the almost-dead wouldn’t trigger the damn chip…

“He’s with Horrible,” Professor Normal’s mechanic broke in.

The rest of the henchmen suddenly found reasons to be anywhere but next to Spike.

He blinked. Dr. Horrible had a reputation, but he couldn’t possibly be as scary as a vampire, could he?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You’ll give me the Fekrillian crystals. Now,” Dr. Horrible said flatly.

The lab full of scientists cowered in abject terror that had little to do with Spike’s game face. Despite his growling background menace, all eyes were focused on the red and black gun in Dr. Horrible’s arms.

“They- they’re under lock and key. We can’t get to them! Only the supervisors can!” wailed one lab tech, younger than the others, who wore her blonde hair in a ponytail. Horrible pointed the gun at her without hesitation.

“Then you’re useless to me.”

The ray gun crackled, red lightning streaking from it to spear the woman through the chest. She crumbled without a sound, eyes open and staring and dead as she slid across the floor to slam into the wall.

“Are any of the rest of you supervisors?” Horrible asked conversationally.

Everyone started screaming, pushing and shoving at each other to try to get away.

“That’s what I thought.”

When the lightning and smoke had cleared, the other dozen scientists were sprawled all over the laboratory in freakish postures of death. Spike was simultaneously impressed and wary. Sure, he’d personally killed hundreds of people, for food, for sport, to gain something he wanted, or just for fun. But he’d never slain a dozen people just because they happened to be in his way. It was more fun to smell their fear and hunt them down, than to just slaughter them for no reason…

“Spike, the crystals are in a box in the room at the back of the lab. You should be able to break the lock without a problem,” Horrible said, turning away listlessly. His heart rate hadn’t even gone up during the killing, which had Spike seriously reevaluating his choice of evil genius…

“Oi! Won’t that set off the alarm?” Spike asked.

“They know better to come if I’m here.” Dr. Horrible put the death ray to his shoulder and marched out front, entirely unconcerned at the possibility of police arriving on the scene.

When Spike collected the gleaming blue crystals, he realized his hands were shaking.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“It’s all finished.” Dr. Horrible hefted the small device, a heavy, pointed cone with a complicated trigger on one end, with every indicator of confidence.

“It’ll work?” Spike asked warily.

“Of course. My calculations were absolutely correct. With the inclusion of the Fekrillian crystals, the beam this produces will overload any microprocessor and cause it to short-circuit. It would be fatal to anyone else, but you heal. You’ll be fine.”

A shadow crossed Horrible’s face and Spike could hear his heart start to speed up for the first time since he’d met him. Something was actually penetrating his icy calm.

“I need something else from you, in exchange for this.” Horrible waggled the short-circuiter slightly.

“Like what?” Spike asked, a lick of fear touching his insides.

“How do you turn someone into a vampire?”

“You want me to bloody turn you?!” Spike asked incredulously.

“Not me. Someone else. Do they have to be alive? Or would suspended animation count?”

Dr. Horrible’s heart was pounding now, almost drowning out his words, he was so nervous. His gloves creaked as he gripped his creation harder.

“I never-. Hell, I’ve never tried it on-,” Spike stopped himself from sputtering and narrowed his eyes. He thought he’d do anything to get the chip out of his head… “They have to drink from me.”

“I got her away from the hospital. I kept her suspended. I kept trying to find the technology to revive her, but it doesn’t exist. It could take years, decades… I need her now.” Horrible wasn’t talking to Spike so much as to himself, and his heart was like thunder. “I can do it. There are some simple modifications I can do so she’ll drink. She’ll come back to me.”

“Who?” Spike asked.

“Penny.” Horrible breathed the name almost reverently, and Spike felt his flesh crawl.

“Ah, how long she’s…?” Spike asked, stalling. He took a half-step backwards almost involuntarily.

“Four months, twelve days, seven hours, and thirty-seven minutes,” Horrible said instantly.

Spike had thought he was past feeling things like nausea a long time ago, but was having an entirely unpleasant reminder of the sensation.

“Look, your girl left you, died, whatever, it’s a hard break. Happened to me a couple times, ‘course they were already dead…” Spike said, taking another half-step backwards.

Horrible lifted his hands up and pulled his goggles off his face, settling them on his forehead. Underneath, his pale eyes had dark circles below them, like he hadn’t slept properly in months. Spike had never seen eyes so empty and dead on a living person before.

“You get what you want.” Horrible set the short circuiter on the table. “And I get what I want.” He looked behind him at a locked freezer.

The power to kill and feed like he used to if he’d just turn some bint Horrible was fixated on. It shouldn’t be such a damn hard decision.

Dozens of bodies falling, eyes staring at the ceiling, wiped out casually as breathing, and for what? Spike shouldn’t care. Didn’t. He just didn’t want to see them again, hear them again, nothing too strange about that… He liked this world and didn’t want it to end from some stupid evil plot.

The sound of Dr. Horrible’s heart overwhelmed all other sounds in the room, pounding like it was about to thud out of his chest in excitement. Spike had to scream to make himself be heard.

“I don’t think so, mate.”

Madness blazed in Horrible’s eyes as he grabbed a silver and red ray gun from the workbench in front of him and aimed it at Spike. His grip was as steady as if he were made of stone, too damned calm for anyone sane. “I do.”

“Forget it man, just leave it!” Spike shouted. Another careful half step sideways and he was right where he needed to be.

You came to me!

“Sorry, I was looking for a genius, not a crazy.”

Horrible fired at the same time Spike snatched up some of the discarded metal on the floor to hold in front of himself, sending sparks flying from it all over the room. Ignoring Horrible’s incoherent shouts, Spike dove backwards out the door, putting as much distance as he could between himself and the monstrous heartbeat threatening to implode everything around it…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hunched down in his car to avoid the deadly daylight, Spike nursed a wicked headache from raising his fist at some idiot driver on the freeway. He could have been free of those stupid headaches, if he’d been willing to go through with Horrible’s ridiculous plan. He just hadn’t been able to make himself do it; raising the girlfriend of some evil scientist would have completely cramped his style.

Dr. Horrible had been happy, that’s what it had been there at their last meeting. Horrible had been about to have the happiest moment of his life. Even if the short circuiter had worked on Spike, all the feeding and joyful slaughter in the world wouldn’t make up for what he’d been through. Why the hell should Horrible end up happy if Spike couldn’t be?

Nobody should be that happy.

Snarling silently, Spike sped back to Sunnydale.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
jaune_chat
Dec. 18th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
Really, Billy just ripped my heart out at the end of "Sing-Along-Blog," and I wondered what he'd be like afterwards. He was so sad and despondant! And Spike is just the right kind of guy that would be able to stand up to him, in a weird sort of sideways way. It was a really interesting prompt to work from! Glad you liked it Willow!
(Deleted comment)
jaune_chat
Dec. 18th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
The spoilers for Stolen Soul are fairly general for S5 of Supernatural, specifically up to 5x03 "Free to be You and Me." I reference very few episode-specific spoilers, mostly the overarching plot points.

And I'll tell you, I've never actually watched seasons 4-7 of Buffy. I've seen a variety of episodes from the various seasons and have some general knowledge, but I had to have Jill give me the precise low-down on Spike's chip and his attitude that season.
(Deleted comment)
jaune_chat
Dec. 20th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
That's what everyone says, I just don't own them and haven't gotten around to it yet! *flaps hands*
idioticonion
Dec. 19th, 2009 09:11 am (UTC)
This is brilliant! What a novel idea to have Horrible think that Spike should turn Penny into a vampire. It seems so obvious a solution now, but only because you wrote it.

Lovely!
jaune_chat
Dec. 20th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it! The prompt called for Spike, and I was trying to think what Horrible would want from Spike as payment. Then it all fell into place. Thank you for commenting!
(Deleted comment)
jaune_chat
Dec. 20th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
I'm so happy you liked it! (Does the long comment happy dance.)

I can dig a dark character, particularly if they have a compelling reason to be so dark, and Horrible fits that so perfectly. He's scary not so much because what he does, but how he does it.

Yeah, vampire!Penny would not really be anything like Horrible remembered. Though I'm intrigued by the idea of how a Buffy-style vampire, which is essentially a demon with all the memories of the corpse in which they're inhabiting, would be. If Horrible were to remain fairly evil, vampire!Penny might actually make the idea partner. Or she just might kill him out of spite. Poor Billy, he just can't win for losing.

Yeah, Spike was pretty horrible to Billy, but he can be a real bastard at times. It's part of his charm. ;-)

Thank you so much for commenting!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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