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The Darkling Plain
Spike didn't take it in. He'd been expecting a comment about them fucking again and, in his mind, still heard that, until the other sank in. He frowned and shook his head. 'What the bloody hell are you…?'
He glanced wildly at Angel, and his sire raised an eyebrow. 'What?'
'Angelus?' Spike lowered his voice and repeated, 'Angelus?'
The other looked surprised and almost impressed. 'You're getting better at that trick. Was it the sun making it all so clear for you?' He glanced up. 'My, but this is a pretty day.'
Spike backed toward the elevator. Angelus got there first and leant across the door nonchalantly.
Spike backed off and found Nate at his side. 'Don't provoke him, Spike. Talk your way out of this.'
'Oh, yeah, like that's always worked.'
Angelus looked at his arm in surprise. 'Seems to be working pretty well to me. You're not leaving.'
Spike didn't bother to elaborate. He took a breath. 'So, what happens now?'
Once more, Angelus looked surprised. 'Well, do you know, Childe, I'm not sure. First thought on seeing you? Fucking kill him and make it slow. But then in the elevator… I'm not so sure.'
'Uh huh… because something else better came to mind? Like taking me to the mall and buying me an ice cream?'
'Yeah. Something like that. But without the mall or the ice cream.'
'So. Guess now I'm back to my first thought.'
'Try harder then. Hell, Angelus, think of the things we could do together.'
The demon chuckled. 'Like saving the fucking hopeless? I don't think so.'
'Nah. I only put that shit on for Angel. How's about we go and find ourselves something small and juicy.'
Angelus laughed. 'You're pathetic, Spike. I've been here all the time! Through every nightmare, every time you're cried and screamed like a freaking baby! I KNOW just how rottenly good you are; that soul of yours eating you away like a cancer. If I let you out of this room, I'd be drugged and chained, and some fucking shaman would be chanting over me before I could say boo to a fucking ghost.'
Nate murmured, 'Boo to you too, you damned creature.'
Spike glanced at him and was reassured by the steady look in his eye. He tried again, but suddenly Angelus slammed into him, and they crashed through the coffee table. Spike tried to crawl away, but Angelus had his ankle and twisted viciously. The bones cracked, but Spike punched the gleeful face and limped over to his room. He slid the door shut and tried to hold it closed. Angelus tore it open as easily as Nate slid insubstantially through next to it.
Spike backed up until he came in contact with the couch. 'Nothing I say or do is going to stop this, is it?'
Angelus shook his head.
'Do it quickly then. For blood. For old time's sake.'
Angelus pursed his lips. 'Every single fucking orgasm I've had to endure in your arse Spike has made me scream until I was hoarse. It's not nice being hoarse in your own head. Every time he's said he loves you. Everything I've had to endure between you two. You're perverted. Sick. Love? We're demons, Spike! Demons! So, no. Not quickly. As slow as every orgasm. Every time you've… held each other… fuck! I can't say even it!'
He took Spike's arm and dragged him out of the room. Spike fought like a man possessed but finally came to realise just how truthful Angel had been when he'd told him of his strength. It was like trying to fight the pull of the moon: irresistible and beyond his puny power.
Angelus dragged him across the apartment. Nate hovered, distressed. 'Keep talking, Spike; you'll bring him round.'
Spike shook his head. 'I'm not begging.'
Angelus shrugged. 'Whatever. Ruin it for me; why don't you.'
When they got into his room he went toward the weapons' cabinet and pressed a button. He turned to Spike. 'He didn't tell you he'd kept all these things. I wonder why not. Oh, I know. Cus he thinks he's so fucking good he doesn't want to face the real reason why he wants to keep them.' An inner door swung open to reveal a chamber. Spike looked at the instruments he'd not seen for a very long time and swallowed.
Nate moaned softly, 'The Inquisition.'
Angelus watched Spike's face and suddenly smiled with genuine amusement. 'There's other things he's not told you, Spike. Things that'll torture you more effectively than these, I'm thinking.'
Spike tried to bluff it out and just shrugged his shoulders.
'Because… you must have realised he's fucking Wesley behind your back. Wake up and SMELL the laundry!'
Spike tipped his head to one side, and Angelus' eyes flickered with mirth. 'First night you got to your new little love nest, he left your bed and went to that warmer one. Cus, I have to admit, Wesley's body is tempting, even for me. I really enjoyed those orgasms. So did Angel. Why do you think he's so distracted? He's thinking of Wesley when he enters you. He wants Wesley, not you, but he's too much of a coward to face your spiteful, homo ranting.'
Spike looked into Angelus' eyes, and there was a very long pause. Then he began to laugh. 'I was afraid of you a minute ago, but you've lost it now, Mate. Do what you fucking like to me. I'll go, knowing you were a pathetic, sad loser, cus, see, I know Angel better than that now. He knows how I feel about that man. No way, no way on this earth or in heaven or in hell would Angel go behind my back to Wesley. He loves me, see? And that's something you'll NEVER be able to understand. So, bring it on, Angelus. We've been here before, and I don't fear you now.'
Enraged, Angelus punched Spike until he fell unconscious to the floor. He stood over him for a minute, looking down with a puzzled expression then shrugged. 'Doesn't matter little one; I'll still have my fun this way.'
Spike came back to consciousness, handcuffed to one of the pillars. He reared back as Angelus' face loomed into view. 'Fucker.'
Angelus shrugged. 'Don't curse, Spike; I don't like it. And when I've decided to be merciful too. I'm not gonna kill you… yet. Cus, look, I've got a new toy.'
Spike's eyes widened as Angelus shifted to let him see. Sam was lying unconscious on the floor by the elevator.
Spike kept his face neutral. 'Do what you like to him; don't bother me none.'
Angelus laughed again and tapped his head. 'Always you forget that I've been here all along. I know, Spike! I know what he fucking means to you. Shit. It's almost made me jealous enough to kill you both too.'
Spike frowned at this odd comment but was distracted by a moan from the floor. Sam climbed to his feet. Angelus went over to him, and he backed away, eyes wide.
Spike struggled against his restraints and once more found Nate at his side, his insubstantial form tearing desperately at the cuffs, until he fell back and covered his eyes.
Spike stood up. 'Angelus. This is between you and me. Just us. Like the old days. I'll beg. I'll scream. I'll do anything you want, but let him go.'
Angelus rubbed his hands together gleefully. 'I know you'll beg and scream - for him.'
He grabbed Sam around the neck and marched him in a headlock to Spike's room. 'We need more music. Can't have little busybodies coming up from below.'
When the music was loud enough for his liking, he dragged Sam back to the main room and pushed him into the well in front of Spike.
Sam looked at Spike. 'His soul?'
Spike nodded, but couldn't keep his emotions in check.
Sam gave him a look. 'Hey, Baby, don't. You know I like treading on the dark side.'
Angel went to the elevator and slammed his hand into the lock. 'There. All cosy.'
He sauntered back to his torture instruments and began to hum as he selected them. Sam went to Spike and cupped his face, chuckling. 'I was so mad with you when I got here - I don't like being followed…. It all seems kinda irrelevant now. If I get to heaven, I'll save you a seat, yeah? And if they won't let me fuck you there? I'll resign and try the other place.'
He saw Spike's expression and placed a finger to one damp cheek. 'Everything's in your name, Spike; it'll all be yours. Use it well… no gifts, no donations - spend it all on shiny gadgets and clothes. Promise me.'
Spike nodded, but it only made the tears spill more. Angelus stood up, his selection made, and began to giggle. Spike heard Nate hiss as he clearly recognised what the demon held. 'What do you think? The Inquisition made this especially for sodomites. I've never tried it out before. Hey, Sam, wanna volunteer your arse?'
Sam had paled, but he stood his ground.
He stood his ground for a very long time, but eventually, even his superb body gave way to the agony.
He didn't weaken mentally though for a lot longer after that.
Unable to block his ears to the final, desperate screams, Spike made to close his eyes, but he had no need: a dark form stood between him and the activities going on in front of him. Nate tried to smile but clearly found it hard. He said softly, 'We don't understand, Spike. Try to remember that. Only through a glass, darkly.'
Spike was incapable of any reply and just hung his head, hoping for it to be over soon.
He felt the moment of death, just as acutely as he had with Nate, and the memories that flooded back only made this long, drawn-out death worse. He began to sob openly, not caring if it enraged or pleased Angelus. He didn't care much about anything.
Angelus came over and looked down at him. 'You don't deserve my attentions.' He reached down, gently raised Spike to his feet and held him in a close hug to his neck. 'Goodbye, little one. What can I say? It's been fun….' He twisted Spike's neck around with such force that the body exploded into dust, coating him. He brushed it off with a sigh and stretched. 'But not as much fun as I'm going to have now.'
Angel narrowed his eyes at Lilah as she came into the office and sat down.
'What do you want?'
She feigned being taken aback. 'Why, Angel, we had a deal.'
'That was in the future. Not now.'
She looked surprised and began to count on her fingers. 'Two months ago. Today. This is the future.'
'Not this soon.'
'It didn't say anything about that in our deal. Oh, did you think it would be years? An easy deal?'
'No. I won't do it.'
She sighed. 'Why did I think we'd have to do this? Angel, you never disappoint.' A piece of paper appeared in her hand, and she appeared to read it. She looked up and smiled. 'I'll take my forfeit.'
Angel felt everything shudder, and for a moment, he thought she'd conjured another earthquake. Suddenly, he felt a sucking sensation and looked up to see himself rising from the seat. He cried out, but Lilah only smiled. Angelus did not turn around.
Angel tried to lever himself from the chair, but his hands passed harmlessly through the desk. He stood anyway and watched as Angelus went out into the central area and looked pointedly at Spike.
He groaned, and Lilah stood, chuckling. Suddenly, she frowned and hesitated. 'You know? I really do want you to fulfil your bargain more than I want this. So, one more chance, Angel; I'm feeling generous. If you want it to stop, if you want to keep your side of our deal, call me.' She went out, gave Angelus a look and made for the exit.
Angel ran out, his insubstantial form difficult to control. He watched as Angelus beckoned to his childe. Roaring out what had happened had no effect at all.
He screamed as Spike went trustingly across the floor, bolted to the elevator, and rode in it with them, trying with the force of his whole being to make Spike see him.
When they entered the apartment, he watched Spike turn away and then turn back with the knowledge of what Angelus was in his eyes. He didn't have time to wonder how he knew, because the action suddenly began to get out of control. He could have wept at Spike's useless attempt to talk himself out of the inevitable. When he saw Spike fighting back, he began to shout, telling him how strong Angelus really was, telling him that he'd never meant for him to find out this way.
He watched Angelus as the events unfolded, followed him as he took Spike to the weapons, screamed again as he told Spike about Wesley, cried out with even more guilt when Spike resolutely refused to believe it.
He watched it all. He watched until Spike landed softly on the floor, his dust seeming very bright in the beautiful sunlight, and then with a choked voice, he called her name.
Once more she crossed her legs and scanned the contract.
'So, now we're feeling more amenable?'
Angel felt for the desk, needed to vomit at what he had witnessed, but swallowed it down and nodded.
She looked pleased. 'What do you need?'
'Tomorrow. Just before dawn.'
Her eyes flashed with anticipation. 'What should I do today?'
Angel gave her a hate-filled, bitter look. 'Lie in the sun.'
He watched her go, already decided what he would do. It was the only thing he could do. He would not fulfil his side of the bargain, but he would not allow Angelus to be unleashed again. He stood and took a last look around the office. It all seemed such a waste: so much he still wanted to accomplish.
He went out into the main area and walked slowly up to Spike, nodding at Cordelia.
'We need to talk, Mate. Just what the hell are you paying her?'
'Not now, little one.' Angel cupped his hand to Spike's cheek, and Cordelia turned away with a raise of her eyebrow and returned to her own office.
Spike frowned. 'What's wrong?'
'Nothing. I'm just tired.' Angel tired a smile. 'Too much sex.'
'Yeah. Like that's likely.'
'No, I just have some things I need to do. I want you to go intercept Sam.'
'I mean go to his place.'
'Because.' He glanced up. 'He is the bravest human I have ever tort… met.'
'Nothing. Just go see him. Tell him I said that.'
'Okay, sure. I wanna go see him anyway, 'bout something else. What are you going to do?'
'I'm going on a trip… shh… I want to get ready.'
'Going where? This is the first I've fucking heard about this! What about me? I mean… okay, is this one of those relationship tests where I'm supposed to be all calm and supportive?'
Angel gathered his inner resources and managed to reply with a small smile, 'No, and it may only be a short journey. I don't really know. None of us do.'
'Well, why can't I come?'
Angel smiled and kissed him, whispering as their lips drew apart. 'I have to do this alone, Spike. Please, go and see Sam.'
'Jeez. You are a kinky fuck sometimes.' He poked Angel in the chest. 'Do you know, sometimes it would be nice to see a little bit of bloody jealousy!' He stomped off and left Angel with the faint taste of him still on his lips.
With a final glance around, Angel went up to the apartment alone.
Spike went out of the agency and jogged down the steps. He pulled up sharp when Sam appeared at the bottom. 'Huh. Spooky. I was just….'
'What do you mean by having the little git follow me home?'
Spike narrowed his eyes. 'He's fired.'
Sam suddenly slapped him. Spike reeled back in shock. 'Hey!'
'I fucking HATE you!' With that the human stomped off. Spike stared at him then ran over and caught at his arm.
'What's going on, Sam? You have to….'
Sam punched open the garage door and deliberately, provocatively, stepped out into the bright sunlight. 'Fuck off, Spike.'
He turned, hunched his shoulders as if he was shouldering a great burden and strode off.
Spike winced up at the sun and cursed, then went slowly back into the agency.
He went toward the elevator and pulled out his cell phone, punching in some numbers.
'You useless fuck. He saw you. You can imitate thousands of bloody people, but he still managed to spot you.'
'Yeah, sorry. I did one of his neighbours, you know, so he wouldn't suspect me hanging around outside.'
'Neighbour came home. Two of us… kinda gave it away.'
Spike sighed. 'I'll be with you soon as it's dark. Pick someone more remote and keep bloody watching.'
Spike sighed and stepped out of the elevator, wondering what else could go wrong.
Nate assailed him. 'Something's wrong with Angel.'
'No, he's always looked like that.'
'Spike! He came up here and then went up there.' Nate pointed to a hatch in the roof of the elevator.
'Up there? Why?'
'If I knew that, I'd be telling you! I'm a useless ghost, but I know extreme pain when I see it.'
Spike didn't wait to argue the point. He swung himself up through the hatch and, with a curse, climbed up the cable until he could swing out in the small roof space.
Sunlight flooded in a wide streak through a door.
Angel was standing just to one side of the light, as if psyching himself up to something.
Spike kept back his cry of alarm and bent nonchalantly to light two cigarettes.
'Fuck off, Spike. Now.'
'When I've had my fag, maybe. Here.' He passed one to Angel, but it was ignored. Now close enough to at least attempt to stop Angel stepping into the light, Spike put a hand softly on his arm.
'At least tell me why. You owe me that, because I love you, and I'll be kinda pissed to watch you burn up.
'You aren't supposed to be fucking watching. How did you know? I told you to….'
'Never mind. I have friends in high places. Tell me, Angel. Maybe I can help; I'm not the total fuck-up I sometimes come over as, you know?'
Angel didn't look at him. 'I sold my soul for yours.' As if feeling he'd overstated this slightly, he finally turned and faced Spike. 'Lilah Morgan had your soul, and in exchange for giving it to me, I promised I would turn her.'
'Oh.' Spike took a drag and waved his hand dismissively. 'Blow her off. What's she gonna do?'
'Take my soul.' Angel pursed his lips as if realising his first stating of the problem had been right. 'When she came here today, I refused to help. She took my soul out, and Angelus came back. He took you upstairs, and he killed you.'
'Oh.' Spike took another drag. 'And I'm thinking he didn't do that quickly.'
Angel twitched his head slightly. 'He did, actually. He saved the torture for Sam.'
Things Angel had said earlier began to make sense, and Spike clenched his jaw. 'I'm sorry you had to watch that. I'm glad I didn't.'
'From my perspective, you did. You love him. I hadn't realised.'
'I love you, Angel. Let's not get distracted here. If I had to make a deal to stop you walking into that light, I would sacrifice….'
'Don't! Don't even think the words, Spike.'
Spike gave him a look and added petulantly, 'Well, I would. Stop this fucking shit now, Angel, and let's go downstairs and do some tanning. What d'ya'reckon?'
'It wasn't just that - Angelus coming back. I was….' Angel clenched his jaw then forced himself to continue. 'For the first time, I was without him. I was what I could be without him inside me. I was pure: without the morass of evil that churns inside me. I'm not sure I want to go on like this now anyway.'
'That was no more real than when we fucked around with those days repeating.'
Angel gave him a look through lowered lids. 'Those days had consequences we didn't see.'
Spike gritted his teeth. 'I'll push you into that fucking light if you go any further with that thought. Let's concentrate on the main issue here. It's simple. Fucking turn her. You can stake her after.'
Distracted by the memory of Spike's reaction to hearing about his faithlessness, he replied quickly, 'She's not that stupid; it was a carefully drawn up contract.'
'So? Turn her anyway… 'S not like you don't know how.'
'And let her loose on the world! Jesus, Spike, she'd be worse than me. I mean Angelus.'
'Right. Okay. We have one of those Mexican thingies here, cus you're not walking into the sunlight. So, we have to find another way.'
Angel suddenly grabbed Spike's lapels. 'Don't you think I've gone through this in my mind again and again since I made that fucking deal? There is no other way.'
'Let me go talk to her, Angel. I have some… influence with her. I might not be able to change her mind, but at least it will delay… this….' He waved his hand at the light. 'For another few hours. Please. If you love me, let me go speak to her before you do anything.'
'It won't do….'
'Okay, I'll take that as a yes. So, come downstairs now?'
Angel sighed and stepped back from the dangerous brink. 'I haven't changed my mind. Short reprieve only.'
'Don't fucking joke about this.'
'I'm not. Not amusing day guy here.'
'You go down first.'
'Don't you trust me?'
'Stop provoking me, Angel, cus despite what you say, I still think I could take you - if I had enough motivation. Keeping you from stepping into that sun would be motivation enough.'
Angel slid down the cable and Spike, after putting his head down to his chest and taking a very steadying breath, followed him.
They stepped out into the apartment, and Nate gave Spike a look. Spike returned it with a small nod and then turned to Angel. 'Go shower, Pet. It always make you feel better.'
'Oh, yeah, like that's gonna do it.'
'Angel….' Angel just shrugged and went toward the bedroom, shedding his clothes.
'Hey! Fucking clothes all over the floor!'
Angel stopped, turned incredulously, and then gave a small, rueful smile, nodding his thanks.
Relieved, Spike waited until he was in the bathroom and then turned urgently to Nate.
'I have to go see someone… watch him for me, yeah?'
The priest nodded at the elevator. 'No. Let's go. This may be why I'm here.'
Surprised, Spike followed him into the small space.
Just before the doors closed, Angel suddenly appeared, once more naked. Nate didn't even flinch, so focused was he now on his task. 'When you talk to her, remember that she may not have told me the whole truth about things, Spike.'
Spike nodded. 'Sure, Pet.'
As soon as the doors slid closed, he murmured to the priest, 'Yeah, like I'm gonna actually talk to the bitch.'
Go to Chapter 3
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