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The Darkling Plain - Episode 10

Chapter 3

Eventually, just before evening, he heard them come down. Buffy went out through the garage; Angel came up into the agency.

He went and poured some coffee and brought two cups back to the couch. He handed one to Spike. 'Use your senses. Nothing happened.'

'It depends on your definition of nothing.'

'We talked.'

'Long talk.'

'Lots to talk about.'

'But you didn't tell her.'

Angel heard that this was not a question, so didn't bother confirming what Spike already knew. He just said softly, 'It would kill her. How can I?'

Spike gave him a direct look, and Angel looked away. Spike continued to stare at him.

Angel rose and went toward the office. He hesitated and came back. 'I'll tell her tonight.'

'Over… dinner.'

'Yes. Over dinner.' Angel looked down at his coffee as if it would poison him but drank it quickly, shuddering at something he did not want to examine too closely.

He glanced at Spike. 'What are you going to do tonight?'

Spike shook himself a little, releasing Angel from his intense stare. Instead of replying as he might have done before this small, silent interrogation, he stood up and clapped Angel on the shoulder lightly. 'I'm thinking there might be some damsels needing rescuing from big uglies; what do you think?'

Angel looked almost guilty. 'It's been a while since we went out.'

Spike turned then said lightly, 'Have a great dinner, Angel. Enjoy it- you deserve it. I'll take care of the mission tonight.'

'Be careful.'

Spike gave him a cheeky grin, walking backward toward the elevator. 'Always am. What time's this date then?'

Angel frowned. 'It's not a date; it's just….'



'Maybe focusing on the wrong thing there, Pet?'

Angel suddenly got it and grinned. He came toward Spike and grabbed him by the lapels, pushing him jokingly back into the elevator. As the door slid closed, he slid Spike's shirt off his shoulders, moaning in delight at the paleness of his flesh under the harsh illumination.

Spike tipped his head back and closed his eyes.

He wanted to concentrate on the feel of Angel's hands on his skin.

Angel fell to his knees, and the sound of Spike's zipper brought forth another soft moan. Spike rocked his erection toward Angel's waiting lips, still not opening his eyes, so he could concentrate on this sensation as well.

The warmth of Angel's mouth was exquisite on his coldness. He was bathed in the warm saliva. He imprinted every moment on his memory to recall later- when he did not have Angel.

He knew without a shadow of a doubt that this brief, unromantic coupling in the elevator was the last time he and Angel would be joined.

It didn't seem enough somehow.

A relationship begun in the sewers, begun on pain and suffering and need so violent it had nearly destroyed them, was ending here, under this harsh light. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut. Who was he kidding- it had begun long before that, and it would never end, for his need would continue. His love for Angel would never be less than it was now.

He felt his balls harden and let them. He wanted it to be over now. He ejaculated into Angel's mouth, held him on a little too hard just one last time, needing to feel the convulsive swallowing, the jerking of the head as he held it snagged in his fingers.

Then he let the man go.

Angel rose to his feet, laughing, but he was moving out of time to Spike now, and Spike hardly heard him.

They entered the apartment together.

Spike looked around. He would miss all of this and knew he would never try to recreate it again. One attempt at enjoying eternity was enough to survive. Enduring love- that small, ambiguous phrase had never seemed more apt.

Angel stripped off his shirt and made for the shower.

Spike waited until he was out of sight and then gathered together the things he wanted to keep- the things he could keep. The picture was easy to carry; the dog walked.

He took them both down to his office and left them there for later.

When he got back up to the apartment, he went into the bathroom. Angel was standing over the sink, shaving. Spike went up behind him, very close, watching this small revelation in the mirror. Totally unaware he was under scrutiny, Angel made strange expressions, contorting his face as he worked on this still new activity.

When he was finished, he splashed water on his face and turned. He jumped so badly that he bit his tongue and yelped slightly in pain. Spike frowned. 'I scared you.'

Angel shook his head. 'I just didn't know…. Didn't hear you come…. Sorry.'

He went back to the bedroom and began the obsessive choosing of clothes. Spike sat on the bed and watched this, too.

When the time was just right, he chuckled and said with a dismissive wave of his hand, 'Don't wait up for me tonight. Sam's taking me out to a new club. We're gonna get wasted. I'll be back tomorrow night.'

Angel looked down, petulantly, a cashmere sweater held loosely in his hands. 'You promised you'd….'

'I'm not gonna shag him, Angel. Promise.'

Angel looked at him apologetically, but before he could speak, Spike added softly, 'Tonight, Angel… don't tell the slayer 'bout us, yeah?'

'Huh! I thought this mood you're in was all about me not telling her and….'

'It was. I mean, it is, but shit, Angel, it's bloody Christmas, yeah? She's just lost 'er mum and all. Bit fucking miserable to drop on 'er that 'er ex is shagging 'er ex. Not gonna do much for the old self-esteem, is it? 'Sides, if you wear that bloody sweater, she's gonna get you're gay anyway.'

Angel slapped at him, as he was supposed to, and any argument he might have made to this was very easily forgotten. Spike smiled at him. 'I have to go now.'

'Okay. Tell Sam hi.'

'I will. Take care, Angel. Will you promise me something?'

Angel nodded, distracted, holding a different sweater up and admiring his reflection.

'Enjoy it, yeah- everything that's yet to come. Don't mope and think about me.'

'It's just one night, Spike.'

Spike laughed. 'Right. It'll seem like it, one day.' He stood up and shook out his shoulders. 'I love you.'

Angel nodded again. 'See ya.'

When he got out into the night, he felt more himself than he had for a very long time.

He strode along with the dog at his heels and felt the slow motion sway of his coat.

It was perfect: a vampire, black leather, and a wolfhound.

The heavy picture under his arm rather ruined the illusion.

With a frown he hailed a cab and went to Sam's. He didn't bother to knock and strode in.

He gave them a look on the bed and lit a cigarette. 'When you're finished, guys….'

Sam and Jordan rolled apart and stared at him for a moment. Suddenly, Sam grabbed the sheet and crawled off the bed. He went over and shut the door then turned on Spike. 'What the fuck's wrong?'

Spike looked at him, surprised. 'Totally nothing- for once. I just need for you to keep this for me. I'll send for it- when I get where I'm going. Oh, I'm going, by the way. Forgot to say that.'

Jordan pulled on his jeans and stood next to Sam. 'You've had another argument.'

Spike chuckled. 'On the contrary. We've parted on the best possible terms- well, for a vampire and a human, that is. So, can I leave this here?'

Sam exchanged a look with Jordan, and they came a little closer. 'You sat here two days ago and turned me down because you loved Angel so much. What the fuck has changed?'

'Buffy. That's what's changed. She's back.'

Sam perched on a bar stool while he digested this. 'Oh.'

Spike smirked faintly. 'Exactly. Kinda what I thought, too.'

Jordan narrowed his eyes. 'I don't see what that's got to do….' He trailed off at a patronising look from Spike.

Sam shaded his eyes for a moment but said softly, 'Tell me you didn't just… leave.'

Spike lost his air of confidence for a moment and took an urgent drag of his cigarette. 'He'll get it.'


'Fuck you, Sam, you don't….'

'I said no. You can't just walk out on him after all this, Spike. You owe it to him to let him move on.'

'What!' Spike ground the cigarette out on the counter furiously, the dog growling softly at Spike's tone.

Sam ignored them both and said pointedly, 'Yeah, Spike, you can fool everyone else, but you can't fool me. You thought: histrionic, noble walkout; Angel'll be torn up about it; he'll come after me; I'll win. That kinda cover it?'

Spike pushed him in the chest but suddenly found his arm seized by Jordan. The demon's eyes were menacing. 'Want me to stick you to the floor, Spike? Because, are you that sure I can't? Or something else? Wanna be part of the toaster for a while?'

Droc rose to his full height, his hackles standing on end. They all looked at him, and Jordan said in wonder, 'Jeez, Spike, when did you get a scary monster dog?'

Spike chuckled and suddenly caught them around the back of the neck, pulling them both into a tight hug.

Just as suddenly, he jerked away and went to stand at the window with his back to them. 'I'm still going.'

Sam sighed and came up, folding his arms around Spike's waist, and propping his chin on Spike's shoulder. 'You lost him long before Buffy, Lover.'

'Yeah. I hung on, ya know? Thinking he could be what he was.'

'Or that you could become what you're not. You've been so lost, Spike.'

'I'm gonna cry in a minute, and here I am tryin' to be the Big Bad again.'

'You'll never be that, Spike. You're a champion; remember? But you have to go back, and you have to tell him all this. You owe it to him. Then he'll be able to move on.'

'He won't accept it. He actually believed that he'd be able to tell her that he was shagging me.'

'Jeez. Angel wasn't in touch with his feelings as a demon, Baby; you can't expect him to be now. He's a few weeks old.'

'Five weeks, five days.'

'You need to do this thing, Spike.' Suddenly, Spike twisted around in his arms and gave him a long, puzzled look. Sam frowned. 'What?'

Spike shook his head and eased away. 'Nothing, only….' He put a hand to his head and murmured, 'It's all making sense for once.'

Sam looked at him curiously. 'And that means…?'

'Can you keep Droc here 'til I get back?'

'Sure, Baby. You want me to come…? Okay, bad idea.' Sam looked down sadly. 'I'd kinda like to help- this last you and Angel thing. Guess this one is just for you.'

Spike hugged them both once more. 'You just have. You've made it all make sense, Sam.'

He went back out into the night and walked swiftly back to the agency.

It was dark in the basement, and he stood against the wall, waiting.

They came in sometime after midnight. They weren't drunk - far from it - but Spike could smell expensive wine and liquors.

To give Angel his due, Buffy was doing all the running. At each small hesitation, she took the lead, kissing him when he hesitated at the open garage door, going seductively up the stairs when he began to talk of the lateness of the hour.

When they'd moved through the top door, Spike stepped out of the shadows and followed them up.

He watched the elevator door slide shut and then went to sit on one of the couches.

He laid out his pack of cigarettes and counted them- enough to last a long night through.

One by one, he began to smoke them, until there was only one left. In a few hours, it would be dawn, and still she was up there, with Angel, in their apartment.

Spike idly wondered whether, if he'd known how painful this was going to be, he'd have just kept going - picture, dog, leather, and pain - into the night.

It was almost too much pain to enable him to actually stand and walk toward the stairs.

He went slowly up them and stood at the top, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dark. He frowned and blinked, wondering why they wouldn't. He blinked again and realised they were seeing just as well as ever, it was just that what he'd expected to see, he wasn't.

Buffy was lying in the large bed alone. Angel's feet were sticking out of one end of the couch in the living room.

Spike put his hand to his temple. He wasn't sure whether this made it any easier or not.

Silently, he ghosted past the bed and went into the living room, closing the door softly behind him. They'd had a fire and evidence of more wine lay around on the rug.

Spike stood over Angel for a while, looking down at him. He'd fallen asleep with tears on his face, their dried trails very evident to Spike's preternatural senses.

Suddenly, Angel's eyes snapped open. He stared up at Spike and then shot out his hand. Spike smiled and crouched, taking the hand. He nodded toward the bed and whispered, 'I'm dying to hear how you got round this one.'

Angel pouted. 'I told her it was too soon. Issues. Being human.'

'Uh huh. And she accepted that?'

'Not really. There were… tears.'

Spike nodded softly; he knew that already. 'This isn't right, Angel.'

Angel sat up and snagged his fingers into Spike's hair. 'She'll be gone in the morning, Spike. It'll all be….'

'No, Pet. Not her. Us. We're the wrong ones.'

Angel almost seemed relieved that they'd got there at last- to this argument that he'd sensed brewing since Buffy's arrival. He said very calmly, 'No.'

Spike shook his head, removing the fingers entangled in his hair. 'Yes. You know it, Angel. It's what you've always dreamed of- your perfect life. It's here for you now.'

'No. You are.'

'No. I'm a dead man you once loved in another life.'

'No! I love you now!'

'In your own way, I know you do, Pet. But you're loving memories, Angel. Just like I am. Ghosts, dead men.'

Angel began to shake, and he clasped his arms around his body tightly. 'I'll die without you.'

Spike suddenly grabbed his arm and marched him forcibly through the door and to the foot of the bed. Buffy stirred slightly, turning and breathing less deeply.

Spike leant to Angel's ear and whispered, 'When you hold your first baby, Angel, you won't remember to remember me.'

Angel tried to wrench his arm away, and Spike suddenly nodded toward the stairs. They went down to the basement together, Angel shivering slightly, dressed only in his boxers.

'You promised you'd never leave me.' He punched at Spike's shoulder as he spoke, his voice low and pained at first then rising in volume. 'HERE! On my fucking bracelet!' Angel stabbed his wrist into Spike's face.

Spike flinched slightly, but suddenly, his whole face was illuminated by a deep smile. He held Angel's shoulders. 'My love hasn't altered, Angel. Don't you get it? This is love. I love you enough to let you go- to let you have what you need. It was Sam, see? He said I wasn't a champion any more, and he was right! I think something did get lost when I jumped into that fucking wind to bring you back. Something that was ME. My need to do what's right- why I fought like the soddin' devil for my soul. See? Don't you see? THIS is what I got my bloody soul for- for her, and then for you. I thought it was so I could have her. Then I thought it was so I could have you. But I get it now. It's so you two can have each other- the greatest love story ever written. It's destined, Angel. It's right. It's the balance that's been missing. I can walk away from you because I do love you so much.'


'No, Angel. You've been in a cage. We both know that. You've been living in my coffin with me. Well, I'm setting you free, my love. I WANT you to have your sunshine.'

Tears began to run down Angel's face, and Spike knew that he'd won. Angel put a hand to the pale strained face, and only then did Spike realise that he was crying, too. 'You've always been my only real sun, Spike.'

'No, Luv. She's upstairs now. Warm, vital, loving you- able to bring life from her body with you. There'll be no guilt, Angel. Just a long, happy life ahead of you. Seize the day, Baby. Seize the day.'

Instead of seizing the day, Angel suddenly seized Spike by the shoulders and crashed him painfully back against the wall. 'TURN ME BACK!'

Spike stumbled away, his skull stinging from the contact with the wall. He looked wildly at Angel and suddenly realised that he'd read Angel all wrong. The absence of the blood link had left them blind to each other, except for visual clues, which they constantly seemed to read so badly.

Angel took the opportunity of Spike being off guard to hit him again, a painful blow to the strong jaw. 'Fucking turn me back!'

Spike stumbled once more, this time toward the garage door. 'I have to go now, Luv. Don't let us part like this.'

'Fuck you!'


'I love you more than my life, Spike!'

'No, you don't. You've not had your life yet, but you will once I've gone. Once I stop confusing you. Go back upstairs, Angel, and climb into the bed with Buffy.'

'Fuck off!'

'I am sorry.'

Angel caught at Spike's arm, and he shouted bitterly, 'Don't you fucking pretend you're all calm about this- that you're just gonna leave me like some big fucking hero!'

Spike shook his arm off. 'Well, you are kinda ruining my big, noble scene, but no, Angel, I'm not all that calm. Believe me. Not calm and not happy at all. But I'm doing what is RIGHT- something you seem to have a problem with most of the time.'

Angel punched him again. 'Don't you fucking tell me what's right. We're right; or am I the only one who seems able to see that?'

Spike pushed him back against the wall, his eyes angry. Suddenly, he just let himself go, sloughing into demon form. 'You bloody selfish fuck, Angel. What about me? What about what I want and need? Us right? There is no FUCKING us! There's me, moving in my time and my life. And then there's you. We can't do this! I can't get what I need from you, and I'll end up killing us both!'

'Good. Do it now. Here.' Angel bared his neck.

Spike stepped back. 'Do you really mean that? My God, Angel, can you really be that selfish? You know what Angelus would do to Buffy.'

Angel suddenly hung his head and put his hands over his face. 'Then just kill me. Please, Spike. Just kill me.'

'Oh, Luv. This was going to be such a brave, happy little scene. Where did it all go so wrong?'

Angel sniffed. 'When you told me you were going.'

'Yeah. Guess Sam was wrong. I should have just buggered off.'

Angel looked up through lowered lids. 'I meant it, Spike. Kill me rather than leave me.'

'That's going to make my eternity a lot happier- remembering doing that.'

Angel animated as if he thought he'd won. 'Then let's live it out together- for as long as we can. Half lives for both of us.'

Spike came close. Close enough to touch Angel's bare skin with his coat. 'Why, Pet? Why a half-life for you when you can have it all? Remember that day you told me about?'

'When I was too embarrassed to shit?'

'Well, I was kinda hoping you'd focus on the sex and sugar.'

Angel hung his head. 'I love you.'

Spike knew for sure he'd won now. 'I know. That's why you have to let me have my little moment of pure goodness, Angel. Let me do this- for you, for her.'

'What about you?'

Spike chuckled. 'Well, I reckon I won't be singing any merry tunes for a while, no. I need to go and process all of this, think what it means.'

Angel lifted his head and looked directly at Spike. 'If you step out of that garage, I'll find a way to force you to come back.'

Spike stamped his foot in fury that, once again, he'd read Angel's mood wrong. He sensed they were getting nowhere, and Angel was shivering badly with the cold. It seemed so wrong somehow to just leave now. Where was the vast orchestra, the scenes of their passions and pleasures passing in slow motion to the swelling music? A shaking human and a grimy garage seemed a pretty poor ending to what they had been to each other. He shrugged. It was fitting, too. They'd always managed to find the magnificent in the mundane.

'Bye, Angel.'

He stepped out into the gradually lightening dawn. Angel seized his arm. 'I mean it! If you go, I'll-.' He could not follow in his bare feet, and his words were lost as Spike began to run.

Angel took in a vast lungful of air and screamed as loudly as he could, 'I HATE you!'

Go to chapter 4

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