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The Darkling Plain - Episode
Spike tipped his head back and cursed when he saw his crypt. Angel stepped out, and Spike hissed his breath in at the sight. He'd gone all out: blood-red leather pants; black leather shirt, and fighting boots. He looked… totally demon.
Wesley and Lilah stepped out behind Angel, fanning out either side of him, as if trying to block Spike's flight.
Spike shook his head then folded his arms in a theatrical show of being already bored with whatever Angel had to say.
Angel saw this and came up very close. He ran his hand through his wet hair, slicking it back, blinking at the rain running into his eyes. 'This is the place, Spike. I've drawn a line in the sand, and any further- you're not going. I've been a victim of other people's decisions my entire life: my father's piety; Darla turning me; the gypsies cursing me; being dusted; being brought back human, and now you- leaving me. Well, this is the line, Spike, and we're not crossing it. We leave this place together, or we stay here together- dead. I'm done talking, Spike.'
'Oh, really? Cus, seems to me there's a lot of hot air here, and not much actually… stopping me.'
'No?' Angel produced a stun gun from his pocket and stabbed six hundred thousand volts into Spike's groin.
Howling, Spike crumpled and fell to his knees, holding his balls protectively. The ground was sodden, and a small splash of mud splattered against Angel's legs as the agonised vampire went down.
Angel then pressed the gun to the back of Spike's neck and held it there, sparking and crackling like a bullwhip, until the blond figure tipped over, splashing heavily in the mud.
Angel turned to Wesley and shouted, 'Help me carry him.'
Before the shocked human could react, there was a rustle of leather from behind Angel.
'Bit premature of you, Mate…. But then, ya know… you kinda have been lately….'
Spike flipped to his feet and rotated his neck, wincing. 'That fucking hurt!'
Angel spun-kicked him in the belly. 'Not as much as that, I'm thinking.'
Once more tumbled into the mud, Spike climbed slowly to his feet. 'You need to stop hitting me, Pet, or I'll hit back.'
'Really?' Angel swung both clenched fists into Spike's face. 'I don't think you will. I don't think you love me enough to bother.'
Spike jumped to his feet, his nose bleeding heavily, his hair coated in mud. 'Fuck you, Angel! What? You're gonna beat me up until I agree to come back?'
'Something like that.' Angel backhanded Spike over a gravestone, the edge catching the vampire painfully across the small of his back. He got back to his feet, scowling.
'If you hit me again, I'll hit back.'
'See, when I was a demon, I did the romantic thing to get you back. Now I'm fucking human? I'll beat you down until I get what I want.' Angel kicked him, then swung a heavy punch to his belly once more. Spike stayed down in the wet cemetery earth for a moment, then rose and punched Angel so hard that he lifted into the air and crashed down with a sickeningly loud, wet plomp onto the soaked ground.
Spike saw the three observers shift slightly at this, and he looked around, arms outspread. 'Fucking stop this then! I'm not the one… urgrug.' Angel caught him around the waist and flattened him.
They rolled in the mud, leather against leather, fury and anger against fear and passion.
Angel grabbed Spike's hair and held on with a death-like grip, screaming against the sound of the rain, 'I won't stop until you've killed me, Spike!'
'Not gonna happen.' Spike pushed him off and sprung to his feet, standing over him menacingly. 'Now, I think it's time for me to…. UGH!' Angel rammed the stun gun up between Spike's legs and held it there- on the wet leather.
Spike tried to scream, but Angel only rammed the gun higher, right into his sac.
Tears running down his face, Spike fell to his knees.
Angel continued to push. 'You'll have to kill me to get out of this cemetery.'
Spike blinked and more tears fell, masked by the rain.
Suddenly, Angel grabbed Spike's face, and he kissed him urgently, whispering, 'Turn me back. Kill me, or turn me. Either way, I'm not leaving this place without you.'
Spike sat back on his heels. Suddenly, he covered his face with his hands, then tried to make this movement look as if he'd just been wiping the mud out of his eyes. He jerked his head up and hissed in a low, agonised voice, 'I can't bring Angelus back.'
Angel began to punch him lightly- distressed punches to Spike's face and arms. 'We'll find a way to get my soul back! I promise, Spike. We'll find a way.'
Spike ripped at some grass and mud, and then banged his fists furiously into the earth. 'Maybe if I half turn….'
'Spike, no! I can't allow you to even consider this.'
Spike ignored Wesley. 'Maybe….'
'Fuck off, Wesley! This is between Angel and me! If we can find a way to….'
The human stood his ground, Lilah a little way behind like a dark shadow. 'There is no way! My God, man, what has all this been about! Angel is human. There's no way to turn him without bringing back a monster that would destroy us all.'
'Well, now, Wesley, you and I both know that that's not strictly true, don't we?'
An unnatural silence fell on the cemetery. All eyes suddenly swivelled to Giles.
Abruptly, Wesley strode over the grass, and before anyone could stop him, he punched Giles, until the Watcher lay in the mud, silent.
Spike flew to his feet and tackled Wesley to the ground, but the man wasn't easily dissuaded, and he grabbed at his prone victim. 'Don't!'
'Don't what!' Spike began to shake Wesley, but then crawled off him and pulled Giles to his feet.
Wesley turned over onto his hands and knees, his feet slipping in the mud. 'Giles. Don't say it. Don't speak the words! Once they've been spoken, you can't call them back. This is evil that should not be spoken.'
Spike turned to him, quirked up an eyebrow, and then punched him unconscious. He held up his hand to Lilah, who flew to Wesley's side. 'Sorry, but he was bugging me. Giles. What did you mean?'
Angel began to struggle to his feet, and unconsciously, Spike put a hand down to help him up.
Giles watched this small exchange with a fond nod then said, 'There is a way to make a vampire- and retain his soul. It's theoretical, but apparently possible.'
'And Wesley knew about this?'
Giles followed Angel's gaze to the man who was now stirring on the ground.
'Oh, I'm not surprised he didn't tell you. In fact, I'm rather impressed that he didn't. He's stronger than I'd given him credit for. You see- it's a life for a life. Or, rather, a soul for a soul. Innocence sacrificed.' He turned fondly to Spike. 'It's what I was trying to decide… cosmic balance and all that. One innocent soul departs for another to be returned.'
Angel blinked slowly and hung his head. 'Don't tell us anymore. Damn you. You know we can't doumptakeyreron….' Spike only fastened his hand across Angel's mouth some more as he struggled and smiled at Giles.
Giles frowned slightly. 'Well, yes, slaughter of an innocent, Spike. You take someone's soul - probably a child's would be best - at the exact moment Angel's is lost, and the universe returns balance- give his back. And I rather think Angel needs to breathe now.'
Angel did, with a huge gasp.
'No…! You can't do this.'
Spike looked down thoughtfully at Wesley, who was trying to rise.
'I'm not giving anything you say much credence, Mate. We're gonna have a long chat about this later on- when I've got Angel back.'
Wesley stood up. 'I didn't tell you for exactly this reason.'
'Why? Because you think I'll go out and kill a kiddie to get Angel back?'
'No. Because I think Angel would.'
Wesley just shrugged and turned to his friend. 'You're losing him, Angel. Another day, another week…. A time will come when you'll be so desperate, that you'll rationalise the slaughter: "I'm needed for the greater good; what's one life when I can save so many…?". And on you'll go, convincing yourself that this great evil is for the good. And you'll be lost then just as effectively as if you'd never attempted it. That's the hideous paradox, Angel. In saving your soul, you lose it. You can't sacrifice someone without being contaminated by the act itself.'
There was a small stir from the member of the group who had been silent up to then. 'You could if someone offered their soul, their life, freely- as a gift.'
A violent tic jumped in Wesley's cheek, and he turned incredulously to Lilah. She was watching Spike, and she smiled, adding, 'See? Fates linked….'
Spike stared at her then shook his head forcibly. 'You can't do this.'
'On the contrary- I can. Innocent soul? I kinda fit the bill there- thanks to you and Santa's Little Helper.'
Angel put a hand on Spike's arm. 'What does she mean?'
Spike gritted his teeth. 'I'm not going to explain, cus we're not doing it.'
'I have the right to do this, Spike.' She turned to Wesley. 'You know it's only a matter of time before I walk out into the sun, or just stop taking blood one day. This way, it means something. This way, I can mean something.'
Wesley licked his lips. 'Not in this lifetime, Lilah. I won't allow it.'
'You're not my sire.'
'No, I'm not. I'm someone who loves you, who won't….'
'This is my destiny, Wesley. Will you stop me being fulfilled? Happy?'
'Yes. No. I mean….'
She put a hand on his arm and smiled shyly. 'I'm getting wet. Death I can face. Running mascara? No way.'
Wesley's mouth quirked up at the corner, and she chuckled. Giles stirred and said thoughtfully, 'You are all welcome to come back to my place.'
Neither Spike nor Angel made a move to follow the other three. Giles cast a long, direct look at Spike, and then the three faded into the rain-filled night.
It was incredibly quiet now in the cemetery- a place for the dead.
Spike turned and suddenly found himself falling backward into the mud. He landed heavily, Angel on top of him.
Angel caught urgently at Spike's chin, holding him still, and then stabbed his lips down.
Just as abruptly as he'd been felled, Spike rolled and flipped to his feet. He pulled Angel up and ran, holding his hand tightly, into his old crypt.
It was an incredible relief to get out of the downpour. Silence took on a whole new meaning in this dry, still place.
Thinking Spike had only been intending to make sex easier, Angel advanced on him, but stopped in surprise when Spike held his hand up, backing off.
'What? I mean….'
'Don't touch me, Angel.'
At Angel's intensely hurt look, Spike came forward and grabbed his upper arms. 'In the lift, Luv. It was our last time. I knew that without a shadow of a doubt: wham, into my mind "this is the last time I'll have Angel's human body". Don't you see? I was right! If we can do this thing with Lilah that will be the last time I had to pretend "oh, this is so good even though I'm so cold you can't warm me up". Do you get it? Touch me now, and that won't be true. Then maybe this thing won't come about.'
Spike dropped his head onto his chest with a fond smile. 'The next person I fuck has to be a demon. I'd like that person to be you.'
Angel's knees suddenly buckled, and Spike lowered him gently to the floor. Angel buried his face into Spike's lap, sobbing, his tears unnatural, unmanly, frightening.
Spike just held him tightly and let him cry. It was saving him doing it, and if he started, he knew he'd never be able to stop.
Eventually, Angel mumbled into the muddy leather, 'You know it's impossible.'
His tone was so hopeful, despite his words that Spike kissed into his wet hair, not bothering to reply. He began to run his fingers through Angel's dark locks.
Angel sat up. 'We can't let her do this thing.'
Spike nodded at him, glad to see the storm was over. 'I'm not sure we can stop her, if she's a mind to do it. She takes after her sire and grandsire- stubborn.'
'Did you think I'd just let you go?'
'I'm not sure. I thought you'd have wanted Buffy more, I'll give you that.'
Angel rubbed his face with the heel of his hand. 'I thought I would have, too.'
'I'm not sure you know what you do want, Angel. Fucking OW! Give that to ME!'
Angel held the stun gun behind his back petulantly. 'Make me.'
Spike shook his head censoriously. 'I said no sex.'
Angel sighed and began to play with it teasingly over Spike's thigh, threatening to press the trigger. Spike narrowed his eyes. 'I'm thinking you need to be taught some manners… Childe-to-Be.'
Angel's eyes widened, and his hand stilled. 'Oh. Your childe….'
'Hmm. I think I might have to be a better sire to my second childe- more discipline….'
Instead of taking his mind off things, this only seemed to increase Angel's anxiety- reminding him of Spike's first childe. He banged the gun angrily on the floor. 'I can't let her do this.'
'We sacrificed five others to bring you back human.'
'They didn't have souls, Spike.'
'Animals don't. Would you think so lightly of sacrificing Droc?'
'Don't be stupid. Vampires are evil.'
'So are some humans, but you wouldn't kill one.'
'Yes, I would. If it needed killing.'
'If it was in great pain maybe…?'
'Well, yeah, I guess. Mercy killings are of the good.'
'Well, then, don't deny one to Lilah.'
Angel rose, confused. 'No. She's not in….'
'Yes, Luv, she is. It radiates off her; you just can't hear it any more.'
'Oh. She's got Wesley. She's got a chance at a new life.'
'It's entirely different….'
'No, Angel, it's not.' Spike got up, too, and stood close. 'I wanted to give you a new life, Luv. Buffy, children, sunshine, happiness. But you want to give all that up to….'
'To have you. I want my life back, Spike- what I was; how I was.'
'And to an outsider, it would look as if you were giving up the greatest prize of all just to become a dead thing. Dead meat. Lifeless. Living in the dark.'
'Outsiders can't understand.'
'No, they can't. But we can. Ergo, we have to respect her decision. She knows what she's giving up, and she knows what she wants. Angel, she has a soul; who knows where she'll go, what great journey she might make. Do you want to deny her that?'
'You argue like the very devil, Spike.'
Spike laughed and suddenly rummaged for a cigarette. 'Bugger. Soggy. Wonder if I left some here somewhere- I kinda went to L.A. in a hurry. Coming?' He jogged down the ladder into the dark depths below.
Angel frowned. 'Spike?' He went down more slowly, cursing at the total darkness. There was a small click of a lighter, and Angel felt a hand on his arm. 'And doesn't this just make me feel big and manly.'
'Never no mind, Pet. You'll see just fine… soon.'
Spike led him through the space, until they reached what was left of Spike's bed. He tipped his head to one side a little. 'Jesus. I only meant to go to L.A. to kill you. Thought I'd be back 'ere in a few days.'
The extent of the changes in both of them since that intended killing was so overwhelming to think about that they didn't; both just pouted for a moment and moved on.
Spike led them further, until they came to the spot. They both recognised it, despite only one of them being able to see. Angel knelt down and ran his hands over the ground. 'I hope he's happy- wherever he is.'
Spike squatted alongside him and put an arm over his shoulder. 'He will be. He'll be making other people happy, too. 'S long story, Luv, but I kinda have inside info on this one. Trust me, Nate is doing just fine.'
Angel smiled at him in the dark. 'I held your soul in my hands here, Baby.'
'And gave it back to me.'
'And now you're going to give me mine.'
'Nooo… take yours.'
'No. You are my heart and soul, and I've been without both since you brought me back.'
Spike nodded, running his fingers through the short hairs at the back of Angel's neck. 'Let's leave this place for good, Angel.'
Angel stood up. 'Sunnydale- and EVERYTHING that's in it.'
Spike smiled to himself in the dark and replied fondly, 'Okay, Pet. Point taken. I tried to save you from the curse of good taste and style- give you a white-picket fence life. But you prefer leather and the slow motion leaving of buildings. So, let's go, hey? Let's take your new life and make something of it.'
They walked back out into the rain, moving slowly, side by side.
'I think Wesley will try to stop her doing what she wants.' Angel plunged his hands deeper into the pockets of his pants morosely.
'Huh, good trick if he can do it- he never succeeded with us. 'Sides, trust me, Pet, he prefers you… dead.'
Angel chuckled. 'He's not the only one.'
Spike tipped his head to one side and regarded him in amusement. 'There must be something you'll miss.'
Angel shrugged. 'Before you… before we…. I'm gonna eat a lot, Spike. Just for a day.'
Spike tipped his head back and laughed into the night. 'Okay, Pet. I'll let you. Only… make sure you have a real big dump before you kick the bucket. You really don't wanna spend eternity needing to shit.'
Angel groaned faintly. 'Can we really do this?'
Spike stopped and rummaged in his coat pocket for a cigarette. When he remembered that he didn't have any, he stopped, his hands empty. He stared at them for a moment and suddenly realised that he'd now stopped still. Now, there was nothing stopping all the thoughts that had welled up behind his dam of constant activity from breaking forth and drowning him.
His hands began to shake. He made a small choking sound in his throat. Angel took his arm and steered him into a gloomy alley.
He took Spike in his arms and held him to his warmer, larger body. He felt deep shudders running through the stressed body. He snagged his fingers into Spike's wet hair and shook his head slightly in reproach. 'Don't. Please.'
A small murmur, muffled against his shoulder, just caught Angel's ears. 'I didn't want to be a champion. I wanted to curl up in a corner, willing to just be there when you got bored of the Slayer- when you needed something harder and colder for a night.'
Angel took in a deep, pained breath. 'I think I offered to drink blood with you again.'
Spike lifted his face. Angel lowered his and murmured, 'Surely a kiss can't change our destiny?'
Spike pouted deeply, feeling himself falling into Angel's dark eyes. Their mouths came together, unsure but needy. Angel's hands slid down to the back of Spike's neck, pulling him closer.
Frissons of sexual need ran from their joined lips to nipples and swollen cockheads. Balls hardened and rose. Angel pushed Spike back against the wall and lifted his thigh so he could grind against Spike and make himself hard against the inevitable hardness he found there.
He opened his mouth and took Spike's tongue deep, sucking on it, biting it with his human teeth. Spike began to unbutton Angel's pants, his hands fumbling on the tight leather fastening.
Suddenly, with a huge gasp of air, Angel pulled away and held Spike's wrists. 'What if you're right? What if we do this and that keeps me human? I won't risk it. I'm sorry. Fuck! I want you inside me so much.'
Spike let out a low breath and nodded, closing his eyes.
Angel leant against him, again, grinding now very lightly, just to be friendly. 'You… okay?'
Spike opened one eye, grinned, shook his head, and closed it again.
After a moment, however, he levered off the wall and put his arm over Angel's shoulder. 'Come on, Poof. We've got things to… prepare.'
to chapter 6
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