I remember Watcher Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, swaggering into Sunnydale, stuffed full of book-learning, rules, and theory, proud that I had faced two vampires under controlled conditions. I was proud of so many things. I had been accorded the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Watcher: I was to be the active Watcher, the commander of the Council’s field troops, the one who would wield the Slayers (not one but two Slayers!) against the Darkness.
Wield. What an interesting term. One that was used almost without exception among the Watcher’s Council. Did I ever think of the Slayers as teenage girls? If I recall, I had two conflicting images of them: in the one, they were valkyries in bright-shining armor, lifting gleaming swords as they marched off into battle under my command. In the other, they were lazy, sullen, gum-snapping American bubbleheads in desperate need of being taken in hand. I knew I would be facing a difficult task, overcoming the damage done by Rupert Giles’ lax discipline, but I believed myself up to it.
I learned a lesson in Sunnydale that they don’t teach at the Motherhouse. In fact, I believe it is a lesson that they steadfastly refuse to learn, down all the centuries that the Watchers have commanded the Slayers: mutual loyalty and responsibility. Armies feed, clothe, and house their soldiers as well as train them. Buffy had her mother to do those things for us, but we did none of them for Faith. And then we had the audacity to be surprised when she transferred her loyalty to someone who did! I suspect that, as uncharitable as my own images of the Slayers were, the official image of the Council is harsher yet: no more than weapons in their hands—guns, swords, stakes, or at best remote-controlled warbots from some science fiction movie. Still, even if they were, they would require care and maintenance lest they break down, which the Council steadfastly refuses them.
And I, unfortunately, was too indoctrinated in the Council’s party line—"The Council fights evil. The Slayers are the weapon we wield."—to even think of these things until after it was all over, and too late.
Faith had no money. I prefer not to think about how she might have paid for that motel room.
I don’t love or desire Lilah Morgan. That’s not why I—no euphemisms, Wesley, let’s call it like it is, eh?—fuck her. It’s not even for information—nothing so simple and mercenary as that. She’s had little enough to offer. It’s because I hate her. I hate her almost as much as I hate myself. That’s why I fuck her, and that’s how I fuck her.
She’s had gigolos, and she’s had men she’s picked up in bars, maybe even the odd relationship. All men who cared for her pleasure, or who at least were trying to impress her. Instead of them, she keeps coming back to me.
Me, who snatches her off her high heels and throws her across the back of the couch when she comes in, shoving her charcoal skirt up around her waist, tearing silk underwear away and shoving into her dry, making her shriek and struggle and curse me and come until she hangs limp.
Me, who holds her head down and comes in her mouth and sends her back to work still wanting.
Every time we fuck, it’s like a contest to see who can hurt each other more—she tears ribbons out of me with her nails, I bludgeon into her until she’s sore and sometimes bleeding. We each tell each other how much we disgust each other.
Why does she do it? Perhaps she thinks that she’s using me for information, or seducing me to the dark side, or some such. But there are other methods she could use. Does some tiny remaining fragment of humanity wish to be punished? Or is hatred the only passion she responds to anymore? Perhaps. If compassion is weakness and love is a lie, then only a man who is honest in his hatred is a worthy mate.
It seems I’ve come a long way from the shy, virginal fellow who had a crush on Cordelia Chase and didn’t know how to kiss.
I remember Billy Blim, the touch of his blood that awakened something ugly inside me, something dark and twisted and venomous that I didn’t know was there. A whole complex structure of Victorian beliefs and irrationality about Eden and bleeding and temptation and treachery. Other men did terrible things under the influence of Billy’s touch, but I believe that I’m the only one who preached a sermon while attempting to rape and murder the woman that I cared for.
Where did it all come from? I suspect I know. There are very few female Watchers. Those few tend to face a lifetime of menial tasks and the constant need to prove themselves. In an organization that sends teenage girls to their death on a regular basis, women are believed to be too emotional. And even in the context of such an organization, my father was considered a reactionary.
Fred tried to reassure me that Billy’s hate was something that was done to me, and I wished desperately to believe her. But judging from my actions since, I suspect that all Billy did to me was show me the truth about myself.
Breaking Justine was surprisingly easy. Of course, I had my own experiences on the subject, but "Discipline" for a recalcitrant Slayer is an important part of Watcher training, something I doubt that Mr. Giles has ever told Buffy about. I’m sure that Kendra could have told her, if she’d asked. Mr. Zabuto has a reputation even among Watchers as a harsh taskmaster. When the time came for the Council to review Mr. Travers’ field dismissal of Mr. Giles, Mr. Zabuto was one of the loudest voices against Mr. Giles, testifying to Kendra’s "loss of focus" when she returned to Jamaica.
In any case, it helped that Justine was half-broken already, from the loss of her sister, her association with Holtz, and—as it turns out—a long string of boyfriends much like Holtz in behavior, if not in focus.
Right away, I decided that violent means of discipline would do no good. Our Justine seems to have a perverse attraction to pain—she’s too accustomed to Faith’s "hot, cold, blunt, sharp, and loud" for them to work effectively. Sexual abuse might have done, but then, women like her, who continue to seek out and adore abusive men, have often dealt with that before as well.
The remaining path would require more time, more preparation, and more will.
I told the dog breeder that I was keeping a large, vicious dog. In a way, it was true. He referred me to his equipment supplier.
I made sure the cage was strong enough so she couldn’t break it, that the lock couldn’t be opened without the key, and that it was small enough so that she could never stand up or straighten out completely.
For the first week, there was no bucket. Being forced to break toilet training is one of the most effective psychological tortures. I was surprised that she lasted so long, but after a week of lying in her own filth, she broke down. I don’t know which of us I was more disgusted with when she started to cry and beg, but I ran my fingers along the scar in my throat, stiffened my resolve, and went in to speak to her.
Even then, she didn’t tell me what she’d done to Angel. Not right away. The first step was simply to establish the fact that she was absolutely dependent on me for the slightest dignity and necessity, that it gained her nothing and hurt her considerably to challenge me. In other words, the first step was to get her to beg.
It took about a month before she finally told me. A month of crushing boredom, cramping muscles, poor sleep, being sent to bed hungry when she didn’t answer my questions, and the threat of losing her bucket if she seriously misbehaved.
She was strong. Very strong. But these techniques were formulated for subjugating Slayers. She never really had a chance.
I pay no attention to her words of defiance—they mean nothing. She does exactly as I command. She doesn’t dare lie to me, tell me that Angel’s coffin is an old steamer trunk or some such. She assists me in rescuing a being she hates and believes to be unspeakably evil and dangerous. Where once she would have attacked me and perhaps won, she is now cowed by the mere threat of losing her bucket.
I have a slave now. There is no other way to put it. Unless she receives extensive psychological help—which she is unlikely to seek—she will fear me for the rest of her life.
I feel ill at the thought, but then, is it so much different from what I was trained to do? I finger the scar on my throat, help Angel to his feet, and move on.
Angel sits beside Fred on the couch, still dripping salt water, my blood warming his sea-cold body. Fred looks up at me, demanding to know why I didn’t call them with the truth. Because they wouldn’t listen? Or because if they did the two fools would attack Connor and, without Angel beside them, be killed? Because they would probably stop me from doing what I had to do to Justine?
All of the above, but I simply say that it was safer for them not to know. That’s a truth, at least.
"You really don’t care about anything anymore, do you?"
I look down at her, down at that pinched, pasty, doe-eyed face. My arm throbs and I remember Billy Blim, and I hate her.
When Angel was changed into a vampire, and again when he experienced a moment of perfect happiness with Buffy, his soul was torn away from him. Gunn sold his soul for a truck—a weapon and engine of war to protect his people. I even hear through the grapevine from Sunnydale that Miss Rosenberg risked her soul dabbling in dark magics. Though I suppose that "dabbling" is the wrong term for someone who came close to destroying the world.
I realize now that all of them are amateurs. I gave up my soul the old-fashioned way: I killed it with my own hands, a little bit at a time.