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The Darkling Plain - Episode
When he got back to Sam's, Spike poured himself a couple of large drinks before he could speak. He twisted his neck around and glared at Sam over his shoulder. Sam pouted. 'I'm guessing the… moving on… wasn't a success?'
Spike sighed and hung his head. 'He's not seeing the bigger picture.'
'What are you going to do now?'
'I don't know.' Spike turned and clicked his fingers to the dog. 'To be honest? I don't really care all that much. I'm gonna go vomit on someone first, and then maybe go back to the old country.'
Sam cast a small glance at Jordan, and then said in a low, serious voice, 'We've been talking…. When you get where you're going, Spike, call us? We're kinda sick of L.A, too. I'm thinking Scary Monsters could relocate.'
Once more, Spike held out his arms, and they came together for a last, possessive hug. Spike kissed Jordan. 'Look after him.'
Jordan nodded. 'Take care, and be careful who you pick up in bars?'
Spike chuckled. He turned to Sam. 'Jeez. What a roller coaster ride it's been, Luv.'
Sam grinned and opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly the door flew open, and Angel crashed in, skidding to a halt on the wood floor. Sam suddenly chuckled and pointed at him, 'You've got odd shoes on.'
Angel frowned and looked down. 'I dressed in the dark…. And hey! Let's focus here, maybe!'
Spike squared his shoulders. 'Go away, Angel.'
'Go away! Go away!'
'I'm leaving, and you can't stop me.'
Slightly theatrically, Angel barred the way, spread-eagling in the doorway, gripping the doorframe as if that would actually stop Spike leaving if he wanted to. 'You think you know what I want, but you don't.'
'I know I know what you need- different, but more important.'
'No! In this case, want is need, and need is want. I didn't know how close I was to losing what I wanted until tonight. I'm sorry, Spike. I'm sorry I've been such a shit lover. I'm sorry I didn't give you what you wanted. Well, now I will. Things are going to be different. It'll be what you want. I'll… drink blood with you. I'll work at night and sleep during the day. You'll need other people, too. Hey, you can fuck Sam and Jordan whenever you need to, whenever I'm not enough.'
Sam coughed, amused, and interrupted cheerfully, 'You could watch- be reminded what you're missing.'
Spike glared at Sam then turned back to find that Angel hadn't even heard the irony; he was nodding seriously.
Spike suddenly strode over and removed him from the doorway. He shook him slightly. 'I'm not staying to hear this total crap. I've giving you your life back, Angel. Now, let me go. Stop it!' Angel refused to let go Spike's arm, so without actually hitting him, Spike had little option but to abandon his attempt to go downstairs.
He narrowed his eyes at the three watching him and suddenly jogged up the stairs instead.
He burst out onto the roof, the early morning rays pricking his skin. He swept Droc up under his arm and leapt to the adjoining roof.
Angel could only stand helplessly on his side and watch Spike leave.
Spike sat for a long time with his hands over his ears until he could no longer hear Angel's heart beating.
When he was sure they'd all gone, he found his way down to the sewers and began to walk to his next destination. He almost decided to skip this visit and just leave, as the bizarre thought of Angel following him there too popped into his mind, but he ignored it, knowing he needed to do this.
She answered after a long bout of knocking. Spike stepped past Lilah and was about to speak, until he saw Wesley sitting on the couch. Spike nodded. 'Okay, two birds, one stone. This makes things easier.'
Wesley looked up, and Spike frowned at the deep bruising to one side of his face. Lilah brushed past him and went to pour them all drinks. 'I hit him.' She handed Spike a drink. 'I hit him a lot.'
Wesley stood up with a deep sigh. 'I hit you first, actually.'
Lilah shrugged. 'But you're kinda lacking on the supernatural strength thing, Wes. I'm sorry, by the way. But then, I always say I'm sorry.' She turned pointedly to Spike. 'Just like you probably did to Angel.'
Spike flushed slightly, and then said deliberately, 'I'm leaving- L.A. I admit that it's not working. But I just came to say that he's gonna really need you now. I need to know you'll be here for him.'
'I don't need anyone but you.'
Spike rolled his eyes and turned to the door. 'I don't fucking believe this! Go away, and stop ruining all my bloody farewells!'
'No. I want you to come back home.'
'Fucking hell! Shall I just go there and shag the slayer myself? Maybe I'll just bloody stay in L.A. and have the happy soddin'ever after with her… cus, I'm thinking… I'm getting seriously tempted here!'
Angel came over to him and grabbed him by his arms. 'I don't want Buffy. I won't stay with her whatever you do. So, if you leave me, I'll be alone… for the rest of my life.'
'Well, that's just dumb. 'Sides, Angel, I'm the one who can't bloody see in a mirror. Wise up. Looking like you do? You'll be alone for a week.'
'No one will want me. I'll be dead, here, in my heart.'
'No, I'm the dead one, Luv. You'll just be melodramatic.'
Spike began to push past him, but Angel struggled to hold him in the apartment. Eventually, Spike shoved him hard against a wall. 'I get that you love me, Angel! I get that you're trying to prove that to me- at last. But this isn't about LOVE! It's about doing what's RIGHT. Right for you, for her, for me. We've had our time, Angel, and it's been… incredible. We burnt bright, Baby, but it's time for you to move on.'
'We can make our own rules, Spike- say what is right and what's wrong. It's what we always did!'
'When we were soulless demons, maybe. Now, stop it, Luv. You've won. You've made me feel like a shit for leaving; you've got me all screwed up in my head when it was all so clear, but I'm still going.'
'Will you stop trying to see ulterior motives in everything! I don't want to prove anything to you! I'm just telling it like it is!'
Spike peeled Angel's fingers off his arm and went toward the elevator. He waited patiently, ignoring Angel's continued pleading. When it arrived, he made to step in, and Angel stepped stubbornly in alongside him. Spike pushed the door-closed button, but sidestepped back out just as the doors slid shut.
He swept up the dog once more and made his escape to the sewers.
By the time Angel got the doors open again, Spike was gone.
Angel looked over to Wesley and Lilah, standing hesitantly in the hallway. He put a hand to the wall as if this was the only thing able to keep him on his feet.
Suddenly, he covered his face with his other hand, his shoulders shaking in an uncontrollable, grief-filled rage.
The sharp sounds of a cell phone made them all jump. Angel frowned and pulled it out of his pocket, staring at it woodenly, as if knowing it would not be the only person he wanted to call him.
Reluctantly, he stabbed it on and held it to his ear.
'I don't want to relocate, Angel. Way too much like hard work.'
'What are you…?'
'Spike's going to see Rupert Giles before he leaves tonight. If you want to see him, I suggest you….'
'I've redefined what happiness is over the last couple of days, Angel. I want you to have that chance, too.'
The phone call was terminated, and Angel was left staring in confusion at Wesley and Lilah. Suddenly, he shook himself. 'I'm going to Sunnydale.'
Wesley came forward. 'I'll drive, Angel. You're in no fit state.'
Angel nodded, clearly relieved.
Wesley saw the relief and said softly, 'I think Spike's right, by the way. I'm sorry, Angel. I know it's not what you want to hear, but I think he's right. But you'll have no peace until you've accepted that for yourself. So, I'll drive you to Sunnydale.'
'You're wrong. You're all wrong.'
Wesley's eyebrow rose slowly. 'Shall we offer Buffy a lift home?'
Angel shoved hard at his arm as he passed, ignored Lilah's protective, angry look, and went toward the stairs. He turned. 'You coming?'
Wesley sighed. 'Can we get dressed first?'
Angel frowned and strode into the apartment, pacing.
'What happened to your face?' He heard a pause in the dressing from the other room.
'I got mugged, too. Amazing coincidence, no?'
Wesley came out of the bedroom, putting loose change into his pocket. 'Incompatibility, Angel. You know it, and I know it.'
Lilah came out and stood behind him. 'I need to come, too.' She looked down at her feet frowning deeply, as if puzzled by her own assertion.
Wesley's lip trembled a little, and he turned with a smile. 'Doesn't matter how much you love someone- incompatibility drives you apart.'
Angel gritted his teeth. 'You've known each other a few freaking months, Wesley. I've known Spike for nearly one hundred and sixty years.'
Wesley shrugged and went toward the door. 'All the more reason why you should know he's right about this. Are you coming?'
Angel wanted to stop off at the apartment. He sat in the car for a moment, staring up at the façade of The Crypt. Wesley sighed. 'Do you want me to go up and fetch something? In case she's still there?'
'No. Yes. No.' Reluctantly, Angel went up on his own, and to his immense relief, he discovered the apartment empty. He collected what he wanted then hesitated, looking at his closet. With a small, determined clench of his jaw, he stripped off and wrenched the doors open.
When he got back to the car, Wesley's eyebrows rose. He looked Angel over. 'That's almost scary.'
Angel nodded grimly and waved imperiously for him to drive.
It began to rain as they left the city, cold winter rain that obscured the road and made driving difficult. They drove in silence, until at the edge of the city limits, Wesley leant forward to turn the music down a little. Angel pointedly leant forward and turned it up again. Wesley ejected the CD and threw it out of the window. 'We need to talk about this.'
'No, I don't need to, Wesley. I know what I'm doing.'
'What's happened to you, Angel? I remember when Buffy died; I remember how that nearly….'
'Spike happened to me. It's as simple as that.'
'You sound like an infatuated schoolboy.'
'I'm getting a bit tired of travelling to Sunnydale with moralising hypocrites.'
'In what way am I a hypocrite, Angel?'
Angel twisted the rear view mirror around so he could see into the backseat and said pointedly, 'Oh, I forgot. You don't show up, Lilah.'
Wesley gripped the wheel a little tighter and murmured, 'Cunt.'
Angel's eyebrows rose fractionally. 'Kinda harsh, Wes. She's not that….'
'You, you prat, not her. He twisted his head around and smiled fondly at Lilah. 'I call her much worse things, hey Bitch?'
She chuckled and went back to her magazine. Angel sulked for a while, staring out of the window until he said in a petulant tone, 'Try giving her up, Wesley, before you question your hypocrisy.'
'I have, Angel. We were discussing it when Spike arrived.' He touched his bruises lightly.
Wesley chuckled, trying to work out whether Angel was more sorry about this break-up, or about having his argument effectively destroyed.
'It's different for me. I can't give him up.'
'I don't think, ultimately, that you will have any choice. I'm driving you to see him one more time, but this is all to Spike's agenda, Angel. In this, you are totally powerless. He'll go if he feels that it's right, and there's nothing you can do to stop him.'
'We'll see about that.'
Wesley flicked his eyes over. 'You're going to try something stupid, aren't you?'
'If you endanger your life, or anyone else's, you'll never forgive yourself.'
'Will you just drive! I want to admire the scenery. I've never seen it before.'
Angel hammered on Giles' door until the man opened it warily. 'Angel? Wesley? My God, Lilah, isn't it? What's wrong? Where's Spike?'
Angel pushed past him, but Giles caught at his arm. He ran his hands over Angel's skin.
'Sorry, only…. This is… incredible.'
'Spike's coming here, and I want to be here when he does.'
'He's coming here? Why?'
'He's got some idea… I mean…. He thinks….'
'Ah. The Christmas card. Why don't you all sit down?' Giles went into the kitchen, his back turned to them all, and began to boil the kettle. 'Anyone else for tea?'
'Giles! This is not the freakin' time for….'
Giles turned. 'Angel, how long have you been rogering an Englishman? It's always time for tea.' Giles' very uncharacteristic comment had the effect he'd wanted- Angel shut up, and that gave him some time to think.
By the time he sat down and handed out the tea, he was calm. 'So, tell me what I can do to help? Wesley?'
'Angel wants to talk to Spike before he goes….'
'No, I fucking don't want to do that! I want to stop him going!'
Wesley just gave Giles a small see-what-I-have-to-put-up-with look and leant back against the couch.
'So, you want me to… what? Imprison him here somehow?'
They could all see that Angel was desperate to answer this in the affirmative, but even he seemed to sense how out of control this would make him appear. Instead, he pulled himself together slightly and said more calmly, 'I need a place to talk to him. He's going to be here, so this place is as good as any.'
'And then what?'
'Then I talk some sense into him.'
'Ah. And that would be outlining your life with Buffy and how you intend to have a perfectly normal, happy life, would it?'
'Fuck you, Giles!' Angel stood up and began to pace urgently. 'Why have you all turned against me?'
'I was never much for you, Angel, if you recall. However, in this situation, I would think that those of your friends urging you to accept that you are now human and that you have a chance of a life with Buffy - the great love of your life, if I need to remind you - are your real friends, and not turning against you at all. However…. Angel, sit down and shut up. As I was saying, however, I do think you need to see this for yourself. As you seem to have forgotten that he's a vampire, I'll remind you that he'll sense you here before he gets anywhere close- hell, he may with just this brief visit. You need to go somewhere else. He'll leave L.A. as soon as it's dark. Two hours or so to get here….'
Wesley rose uncertainly. 'Too public.'
Giles heard the slight edge to the other's tone and gave Angel a penetrating look. Angel looked annoyed. 'I'm not going to hurt anyone!'
'Right. Somewhere more isolated. The cemetery? Spike's old crypt? You remember that, Angel?'
Angel looked closely at the watcher to see if he could detect any irony, but then took the question at face value. 'It's kinda wet out.'
Giles sighed. 'And you what? Dissolve?'
Angel looked angry at being made fun of, then seemed to remember he needed this man, so replied evenly, 'Okay. Bring him to me there.'
Spike's drive to Sunnydale was no less full of memories, but his were bad ones- very bad. There was a subliminal smell of blood in his nostrils, and his body swelled without his conscious volition at the remembrance of the things he had done on his trip to kill a slayer.
He glanced at the dog sitting in the seat alongside him. Droc was all he had to show for everything he'd gone through since getting his soul- except, of course, for his sanity, and the sense of being a good man for once.
The dog turned from his contemplation of the dark highway and returned Spike's look. Spike's eyebrow rose a fraction, and he murmured, 'Don't do the spooky, Mate.'
The dog continued to look at him as if he was studying the vampire. Spike gritted his teeth and stared out of the windscreen, watching the hypnotic sweep, sweep of the wipers. 'Stop it.'
He flicked his eyes over and got the full force of the dark gaze. 'Let me do this my way, yeah? Let me say goodbye, and then when it's all done, I'll stop still and think about things. I need to keep going. I need to not think.'
'If you speak, I'm stopping the car and putting you out to fend for yourself again.'
'You made your choice- me or Angel. Can't have both. You can't have BOTH!' Disbelieving that the dog had made him so angry, he stabbed at the radio of the rented car and turned the music up full volume.
Giles did not pretend to look surprised to see him when he arrived. Spike stepped past him, brushing one finger lightly over his shirt, and said softly, 'He's been here, hasn't he?'
Spike perched on the arm of the couch and took the offered drink, running his fingers through his soaking wet hair.
'I can't believe how he's grown.' Giles patted Droc slightly warily. 'Did he finally get a name?'
'Yeah. Bloody stupid one that doesn't mean anything. How did he look?'
Giles straightened. 'Honestly? Aside from the obvious distress and odd hair? He looked rather… morish.'
Giles smiled. 'He looked edible.'
'Yeah, well, I was expecting some bloody watcher-y reply.'
Giles smiled and sat on the couch, patting Spike's thigh. 'You of all people should know that I'm not all that… watcher-y these days. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to see him?'
'Is that what he wants?'
'Oh, shit. No, I'm not doing it again. I explained it three times now, and he just isn't getting it. One more time's not going to make any difference.'
'All right. Some common sense at last. Good.'
'Spike, the very idea of you and Angel making a go of this thing is ridiculous.'
'Oh, is that so?'
'I think you know that it is.'
Spike looked down for a long time. 'I'm sorry I came here, Giles. I wanted to see you. But I'll just say goodbye and go, Mate. I'm feeling a tad… shagged- an' not in the nice way of that.'
'Where will you go?'
'Fuck if I know. I was thinking home, but Wolfy's difficult to travel with.'
'Why did you take him? He's Angel's dog really.'
'Yeah. Like- not. We've been through some stuff together. He was free to choose. He chose me.'
'Angel will miss him.'
'He forgot to bloody feed him most days.'
'Doesn't mean he didn't love him and need him.'
'He'll have the slayer.'
'Hardly the same.'
'As a bloody dog?'
'Oh, sorry, were we talking about the dog?'
'Fuck the fuck off, Giles. I'm worn out with all this. I'm trying to do what's right here.'
'I know you are. I'm sorry.'
'You should have seen him, Luv- being human. There was nothing of… Angel… left. Nothing of the Angel I want or need.'
'Does thinking that make this easier for you?'
'That it's all Angel's inadequacies that are to blame?'
'Not that you've changed?'
'I haven't. I can't change, Giles. I'm what I am for eternity.'
'You bear no resemblance to the vampire who's exploded in and out of my life the last few months. This is a totally selfless act, Spike. The first one I've ever seen you perform. More, it's something causing you some considerable pain - although I give you brownie points for hiding that quite well - but still, you are willing to do it.'
Spike stuck out his lower lip, then rose and paced, agitated, for a few minutes. Finally, he came back and stuck out his hand. 'Bye, Giles.'
Giles took it and turned it over in his hand for a moment. 'Come for a drink with me, Spike. I think you owe me at least that, and I think it might help you, too.'
'I really don't want….'
'No, but I do.'
'It's bloody pouring with rain.'
'Spike. We're English.'
Spike sighed, hung his head for a moment, then shrugged and clicked his fingers for the dog to follow. Droc took one look at the sleeting rain and slunk back to the couch.
Chuckling, Giles put an arm over Spike's shoulders and led him out into the rain.
They wandered through the quiet, wet streets slowly. Every so often, Giles glanced at Spike's lowered profile, until Spike asked softly, 'What, Watcher?'
'I'm thinking things through, trying to decide what to do for the best.'
Spike glanced up at him. 'You and me?'
Giles smiled. 'No. You and the universe.'
'I'm just a short, unnaturally blond vampire, Mate. Universe is too big for me.'
'I'm not so sure. I think cosmic balance is rather important.'
'You talk like Wesley.'
'I'm sorry to see Lilah is not doing well.'
'Oh, they were here, too…?'
'What did Wes say about all this?'
'He agreed with us. In fact, I think Angel is the only one who thinks you two can make a go of it.'
'Oh. Bet the poof's not liking that.'
'He seemed to be coping with being a put-upon minority.'
'He's had practice- the only souled vampire? Remember?'
'Yeah, until me.'
'I'm so sorry, Spike.'
'Things end, Giles. Humans have to move on. I get that. It's not so sad.'
'No, I didn't mean that. I meant for lying to you to get you here. Bugger what Wesley and everyone else thinks, Spike. And, hey, bugger what you think… you need Angel and I want you to have him.'
He stepped back, and Spike realised that he'd been led into the cemetery.
to chapter 5
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