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25 October 2012 @ 05:34 pm
The Vampire's Gift: Chapter 6  
Warnings and other information in the first post.






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The Vampire's Gift


Chapter 6:

Faith did not return until halfway through breakfast the next morning.

She sailed in and grabbed a cup of coffee, her hair a tangled mess and her lipstick gone. She didn't seem to care one bit. Satisfied, Willow thought to herself, that's how she looks. As though she'd had her fill and was damn pleased about it. No, stop it. Eat your breakfast and get out of here before she decides to tell you all about it.

She made it out just in time; Anya shared none of her mortification and had eagerly started fishing for details.

Soon after, Dalton came to fetch her.

This time she was brought to a different room, one floor down. The Master was waiting for her, leaning against a wall with a lit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. He'd recently showered, his hair was still mussy and wet and he wasn't wearing the duster. The rest of his clothes were the same all black ensemble as the night before. The tight black shirt looked identical, she wondered if he had several or if perhaps he hadn't bothered changing.

"Ready, pet?"

"Yes."

Nothing more was said. He didn't seem to be up for conversation and she didn't care. She was focused entirely on getting to see Buffy.

Another flight of stairs and they were in the basement. The walls here weren't carved out of rock like in the pool area, but made of traditional brick and stone. The floor was stone as well. It looked vaguely dungeon-y she supposed, but it lacked the moss, lichen and chains hanging from the walls for the full effect.

He came to a stop outside a reinforced, steel door. It was locked, but he slid his fingers into his jeans pocket and fished out a key to let them in.

"Willow!"

The Master stood to the side to let her pass and she ran over to Buffy.

"You have one hour, as promised," he said. "I'll come back for her then."

She barely heard him and didn't see him leave, she was busy wrapping Buffy in a tight hug. There were shackles on her wrists again, but not on the ankles.

"Oh, thank God you're okay," Buffy said, clinging to her.

"I'm fine," she reassured, and really, she was. Shook up and still a little frightened, sure, but basically fine. "What about you?"

"Been better, been worse."

She stepped back to take a good look at Buffy and the room. The chains attached to Buffy's shackles were anchored in the wall, but they were long enough to give her good mobility. There was a pile of what looked like broken plastic chairs and a table in one corner and several spots in the brick wall where Buffy had apparently punched it with all her might, leaving indentations and cracks. He hadn't been lying.

Buffy was dressed in jeans and a plain t-shirt, not the dress she'd been wearing on the night of the kidnapping. He had insinuated that he'd been prepared for Buffy's arrival though, so Willow wasn't very surprised.

"Where is he keeping you? Has he done anything to you?"

"No, no, he hasn't touched me. I've barely seen him, to be honest. I'm in a guest room two floors up, in the women's quarters." She decided not to elaborate on exactly what that meant. There was no need to worry Buffy unnecessarily, especially as nothing had happened to her.

"Good, I told him I'd kill him if he so much as harms a hair on your head."

"I'm alright, honest," she insisted. "I've mostly been worried about you."

This made Buffy smile. "And me about you. I've been here the whole time, chained to the wall. The food here is a lot better though, and the amenities have been upgraded." She pointed at a door in the corner that had a small half-circle cut into it.

It took a moment before she realized that it was for the chains, so that Buffy could close the door behind her.

"Toilet?" she asked.

"And shower. I swear I've never been so happy to wash my hair."

"Yeah, me too. I had to borrow his girlfriend's bathroom at first."

"He has a girlfriend?" Buffy asked, taken back at the news.

"Yeah, she's sorta been babysitting me since we came here," she tried to explain without saying too much. "She said she's a demon, a vengeance demon, but she looks human to me."

"Huh, never heard of vengeance demons before."

"Me either, but she said she's retired so I guess she doesn't do vengeance anymore, if that's what they do."

"Demons can retire?" Buffy echoed Willow's own confusion from two days ago.

"Apparently it's not common," she said, nodding sagely. It wasn't often she knew more than her friend about this type of stuff so she had to take the opportunity when it came. "I didn't ask more about it. You know, didn't want to upset her or anything. She seems nice, though."

"If she's a demon, she's dangerous. Promise me you'll be careful around her, Will"

"Of course. I'm more worried about this vampire woman anyhow. She's insane. Like, actually insane."

"You're kidding."

"Nope. There's a whole bunch of vampires around," she said, glossing over the truth, "but she was really strange. Anya, that's his demon girlfriend, said she has visions."

"Visions, really?"

She nodded. "I didn't understand any of what she said, but it was real freaky."

"I bet," Buffy said, and brightened some. "How much of this place have you seen? I woke up here and haven't left this miserable room."

"Oh, it's huge Buffy! They call it the mansion and it really is. There's three floors above this one, which is the basement, but you probably guessed that already. I've never seen so many hallways in one place, it's like a giant hotel."

Buffy seemed disappointed at that. She must have hoped that it'd be easy to get out of here.

"There are minions everywhere," she added, biting her lip.

"Damnit."

"Yeah. Sorry. I have no idea where it is, either. The only part of outside that I've seen is the courtyard and the tops of some mountains."

"There's a courtyard?"

She nodded again. "A big one. It's an amazingly big place. It has two libraries, for example."

"Trust you to pay attention to that," Buffy snorted.

She grinned. "Hey, no teasing! There was a computer in the one I went to," when Buffy instantly looked hopeful she carried on quickly, "but no internet, unfortunately."

"Double damn."

As best as she could without revealing everything, she relayed her adventures since Buffy had blacked out in the truck. Just as she finished, the door opened behind them and the Master walked in. He stayed on the opposite side of the room, out of range from Buffy, and from the quick, anxious glance Willow threw his way, he seemed weary.

"Time's up."

She had the feeling that Buffy was about to reply with something that would have definitely not made him very happy, so she darted between them and turned her head to give her a pleading look. Please don't make him mad, please don't make him mad, she chanted in her head. Buffy seemed to take the hint.

"Will you let me see her again tomorrow?" Buffy asked instead, her tone a little testy but not blatantly disrespectful.

"I meant what I said, Buffy," he replied. "If you keep your promises, I'll keep mine."

She wondered what Buffy'd had to promise him. To not destroy things, yes, but he'd said promises. Plural. What else? She'd have to wait for tomorrow to ask.

He was still in a non-talky mood on their return trip. She kept her eyes on the floor.

______________



To keep herself entertained, she made another trip to the library; this time to actually pick up some books. The rest of the afternoon was spent curled up in her room (she wasn't brave enough to sit out in the great hall yet) reading.

Harmony sat next to her again at lunch and informed her that they'd be spending the evening together picking out Willow's new wardrobe. She seemed elated about it. Once both had finished eating, she was dragged to Harmony's room where she was sized up and measured. She even had her measurements taken in places that she'd never thought needed to be measured, like armpit to knee and the circumference of her upper arms.

Like Anya, Harmony appeared to take her task very seriously and wanted the Master to be pleased with her. She placed a pile of catalogs in her lap that was so heavy that it made her grunt. All of them were from clothing chains and stores that allowed you to order by mail. She wasn't used to shopping in this way, but Harmony assured her that with all the measurements she'd taken, everything should fit once it arrived. If not, they'd return it for a different size or have it tailored. She was also told to not worry about the cost, the Master would take care of it.

Willow picked out four outfits and a bathing suit for the pool, but Harmony gave her a look and insisted that she'd need much more. Harmony then offered to help, and selected several pieces that would work well with the other things she'd chosen and that could be dressed up or down to give some variety. She also insisted on making her pick out a dress, stating that she'd need one for any formal events.

When Willow admitted to not knowing much about fashion at all, Harmony giggled and revealed, not unexpectedly, that she lived for it. She'd wanted to be a fashion designer when she grew up, but had ended up a vampire instead.

They chatted about the different styles she liked and the styles she definitely did not like and before Willow knew it, dinnertime had arrived.

Just like yesterday, the women gathered in the great hall and lined up. Just like yesterday, Dalton entered at the stroke of nine. And just like yesterday, she was chosen to go see the Master. The only difference was that this time no one else was supposed to replace her once they had talked. Willow froze in panic. Oh God, she was meant to spend the whole night with him.

Anya and Faith both came up to her as the other women left, patting her back. She couldn't move, torn between fearing what he expected of her and wanting to believe the constant reassurance that she wouldn't be made to do something she didn't want.

"Don't fret, Squirt," Faith soothed. "You're new, it's only natural that he wants to spend time with you."

Anya agreed with a nod. "You'll have dinner with him, so don't worry about that either."

"Great," she muttered. "I have a date with a vampire."

"Don't knock it 'til you've tried it," Faith grinned.

She'd really rather not try it, but didn't want to be rude and say so out loud. They were trying to be supportive and the least she could do was to be polite in return.

Not having much of a choice, she went to her bathroom to have a few minutes alone. After repeating the breathing exercises, she looked in the mirror, splashed some water in her face and deemed herself to be ready. She had no makeup or anything else to wear and wasn't going to do anything special with her hair for him, lest he get any ideas (that he didn't already have).

Once more into the fray, she thought.

She announced to the minions at the door that she was ready and was escorted to the study from yesterday. The Master sat behind the desk when she entered, leaning dangerously far back and with his booted feet up on the edge. He was reading through some papers; a stack of them piled in front of him. He was wearing the duster again and appeared much more at ease than earlier in the day.

"Hello Red," he greeted without looking up.

"Uh, hi."

She remained standing near the door, unsure what to do.

He put the papers down and eyed her up and down. "You look only marginally more comfortable," he commented, amused. "Are you really that scared of me?"

She tried to say 'yes' but it came out as a squeak. Her hands were shaking.

At least he didn't laugh at her this time. Instead, he smiled and got up, motioning to a small table between two plush chairs. "Have a seat."

As soon as she sat down, he joined her.

She was deeply grateful that her pink sweater had no cleavage to speak of, but worried about her skirt, which was much too short for a situation like this. She had white tights underneath, sure, but she was still happy to be protected from his view by the table. She already regretted letting Harmony talk her into getting several more above-the-knee skirts.

"I need to go over the rules of the mansion with you," he said and leaned back in the chair.

Ah, so that was why he had asked for her. Or at least, she hoped that was the only reason. Could they possibly talk about the rules all night? He'd stuffed his hands into the pockets of his duster and spread his legs wide, the picture of relaxed and cool. She was his polar opposite, sitting straight as a pin with her fingers plucking at her sweater.

"Okay," she said, putting on the attentive and interested face she used in class.

"First and foremost," he began, "no other male may touch you. Only me."

Willow tried not to let him see her shudder. Sure, she thought, it explained why none of the vampires at the mansion (nearly all of whom were male) had laid hands on her. And okay, she had no issues with that. But there was still touching implied, and she was pretty sure she had plenty of issues there.

"The minions know that the penalty of touching you is death. There's exceptions for emergencies obviously; should you stumble and fall down the stairs for example, then they are permitted to help you."

"Of course."

"I want you to report any touching at all to me, immediately."

He stared at her so intently she didn't dare look away in case he thought she was hiding something. She desperately wanted to. His eyes were blue, a startling cobalt blue that seemed to see straight through her.

She nodded her silent agreement. When he finally looked away she discovered that she'd held her breath.

"Secondly, you may not leave the women's area without my approval. I know that's a bit restrictive," he said with a quick apologetic look, "but it's for your own protection. It's not that I don't trust you, it's them that's the problem."

"You don't trust your minions?" She was a little surprised to hear that.

"You know that saying, 'good minions are hard to find'? It's true. Now don't get me wrong, in the many years that I have kept my women here there have never been any serious incidents. It's just that the mansion is very large and if you were to wander off it could be hours before someone missed you. If a minion ran into you in a remote part of the house and knew that nobody would come looking for you..." he trailed off and shook his head a little, as if to clear away an unpleasant mental image. "I'd rather not allow the temptation."

She could see where he was coming from. At the same time, it made her more anxious about the vampires that escorted her back and forth. He picked up on it right away.

"There's no need to worry. The way it works, I always know if one of you is outside the women's area and where you are going. I'd know right away if something was wrong."

Remembering something Faith had said, she crinkled her brow. "Weren't some of them in our quarters yesterday, though? And Dalton comes in all the time."

"In the old days they employed eunuchs to ensure the absolute safety of women. I've opted for a more modern route," he said and grinned, "the minions that are permitted to enter your area are either female or gay. That includes Dalton, who's in a happy relationship with one of the cooks."

"Ah," she said, taken aback by this rather personal information. She hadn't really looked at Dalton much since the first time she saw him. "Uh, good for him."

"He's been with me for decades now, he's solid as a rock." He stood to pace the floor back and forth and continued the list. "Third, I expect you to get along. If you have issues with one of the other women, sort it out. I can't stand drama."

"Okay."

That one worried her some. She had no troubles getting along with Anya, Faith and Fred, hell, not even with Harmony, but did he want her to make friends with the mad Drusilla too? She wasn't sure she could and hoped that being polite would be enough.

"Fourth and most important," he said, and stopped suddenly to look at her with that piercing stare again. "No going behind my back, or behind the backs of any of the other women. That goes for everything."

A cold shiver ran down her spine. The snooping around she'd done on the library laptop would count as going behind his back, she was sure of it.

Struggling to keep her composure, she tried hard not to do something that would reveal her distress, such as biting her lip or wringing her hands. Had she met his gaze he'd have seen straight through her for sure, but she'd glanced down at her lap to check that her skirt wasn't riding up just before she realized the implication of his words.

"Any breaking of these rules is punished as I see fit," he finished.

She gulped. He must have assumed it was due to the mention of punishment because he said nothing, just continued to watch her. She'd never been a good liar and had no delusions about it. She knew the likelihood that he'd find out was high; all he had to do was ask her and she wouldn't be able to lie convincingly enough for someone as perceptive as him. She couldn't even fool Xander half the time, and he certainly wasn't the most insightful of people. What would happen if she were caught lying to the Master? What kind of disciplinary action would he use? Torture?

Whatever his methods were, she was sure to find out before long.





Chapter one, two, three, four and five.
 
 
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
catelynstarkcatelynstark on October 25th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
Is it weird that I'm kinda looking forward to the punishments?
The prin-fucking-cess of Norway: BtvS: His hobby? World-saving.3hours on November 2nd, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
I'm hoping you weren't (too) disappointed! I've avoided responding to this comment 'til the next chapter was posted :x
catelynstarkcatelynstark on November 3rd, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
I haven't given up hope yet ;)
The prin-fucking-cess of Norway3hours on November 3rd, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
Oh definitely don't ;)
zodiac_signzodiac_sign on September 20th, 2013 12:58 pm (UTC)
Everything is getting more interesting and spooky by the minute!

Well done :)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )