Sequel to Darkness Inside
Summary: “He wonders what will happen the night the words change”.
Pairings / Warnings: B/S/A – nothing explicit, as always. If the concept of slash and/or threesomes offends you though, don’t read.
Timeline: This is complete AU - another one in my series of B/S/A fics, following “Darkness Inside”. I’m pretty much ignoring the events of the current season - if you haven’t read the other fics this will sound both farfetched and out-of-character. If you still want to read it, though, you have to at least know that Buffy and Spike are happily together and Angel comes to visit sometimes.
Feedback: I’m kind of curious on what you made of it.
Disclaimer: Yeah, like B/S/A is ever going to happen on screen. Unnecessary much?
Thanks: To Lara Dean-Brierley for the beta – what would I do without you? ;)
Author’s note: I suspect this was brought about by Yseult deBreton’s recurring use of phone conversations in her fics. So, here’s to you, Yseult.
“Angel? Maybe you should come….” Buffy’s schoolgirl voice, with that lilting tone she always uses when she says his name and that uncertainty that says she’s tired and afraid. That death brushed too close this time and she’s only mortal.
“Angel, maybe you should come.” Clipped words and crisp speech so he won’t hear the panic, upper-class British accent betraying it nonetheless, William coming through over the wire and the decades, frightened little poet.
After that, Angel has to sit down because his knees won’t hold him up. He wonders what will happen the night the words change.
It wasn’t like this before. Connor’s fault, he thinks it is. The constant worry and care that your own flesh and blood awakens. Babies tend to do that. You’re constantly guessing – is he all right? Is he hungry? Is he cold? Is he sick? Does he want to play? Why is he crying? An infinity of questions and focused attention and reading the signs. And so much *love*. You never would’ve guessed there was so much unconditional love bottled up inside you. All for one small person that suddenly has become the most important thing in the world.
But Connor isn’t a baby anymore. Stopped being a baby all of a sudden and in his place there’s a stranger with suspicion and distrust in his eyes. Someone who doesn’t know him and doesn’t like him. All that promise, all that hope cast down to the bottom of the sea and scattered like so many grains of sand.
And what was Angel to do with all the love that wanted a way out? When his son’s heart is closed to him and won’t let him in and won’t love him in return?
There’s only so much pain a man can take. And Angel has taken more than his fair share of pain. Even if he’s not a man. Even so.
On those nights, he breaks every speed limit between LA and Sunnydale. Needs to see them. Touch them. Smell them. Hold them so tight that Buffy gasps for air and Spike squirms in his arms -- “Let go, you poof. Christ! If I’d known you’d be like this, I wouldn’t have called.” And Angel laughs, knowing it’s all a front and that Spike’s so glad he has come he hasn’t the words for it. “Never leaving you again.” Angel whispers so that only Spike will hear. Blinding flash of a smile, deer caught in the headlights kind of effect. Spell broken by Buffy’s chaste kiss to his cheek and heartfelt words – “I’m so happy you’re here.” So simple and meaningful. Just like her. Pure Buffy.
He inspects the cuts and the bruises and tends to them. Knowing they’ll heal completely in a matter of days doesn’t make him feel any better.
Tries to guess how many they were this time, what were they. How did they unsettle the carefully choreographed dance? The synchronicity that binds their movements into patterns and rhythms so perfectly timed that Angel forgets he doesn’t need to breathe while drinking in the fierceness and the beauty.
Tries to reconstruct the scene from the way the wounds are distributed and figure out what happened that broke their unity and made them vulnerable. Were they outnumbered or simply outsmarted?
Mind numbing fear at that last possibility. Never asking – better not to know.
Angel patrols alone the nights that follow. Kills anything that moves, a rush of fury and unrestrained violence. Letting the demon out to play in a way he doesn’t allow in LA.
Not that many innocents in Sunnydale’s streets at night. Chances are if you’re out you’re deserving of the death that’s heading your way. He stopped making distinctions: potential threat equals fair game. Nothing but prey.
Angel doesn’t care. Stopped caring the night he came back to find Buffy’s arm broken and Spike coughing up blood from the internal damage. Buffy’s eyes childe-wide with shock and voice so low he had to strain to make out what she was saying. “-- humans…they were humans….” Doesn’t remember much of what happened that night after the red haze descended upon him. Knows he was in game-face even before he hit the streets and that cold rage guided all his actions.
On those nights, it’s not him roaming the avenues and alleys, the parking lots and sewers. Not him. Smiles that lopsided smile of his when he comes across his unsuspecting victims. Eyes like needles.
Only returns to the mansion when it’s all drained out of him. When he doesn’t have the stamina to continue and all he can do is sit in a chair because he’s too exhausted – and too sated - to move. For now, at least.
Doesn’t go to sleep, though. Doesn’t sleep at all during the nights he stays. Sits in their room and watches them sleep. Next best thing to fucking them into the mattress is watching them. He watches a lot.
Spike is leaner now. Mustn’t be eating as much as he used to – always hated pig’s blood. He’s all corded muscle and well-defined cheekbones, pure lines and milky white skin. Straight black eyebrows and shadows in the hollows of his face and impossibly long lashes. Solar white hair. Angel knows his skin would be warm if he touched it. Hot from sleeping next to the tanned California girl. Buffy’s heat radiates in waves from the curves of her body. Angel can see it if he concentrates and it seems only fitting that she has bronze skin and blonde hair. What other color could she be? His girl is sunshine gold.
Spike and Buffy are all about light. The sheets are white because they know Angel won’t bear darkness next to them. Both laughed it off when Angel made his request. “Don’t tell me you’ve become superstitious in your old age” and “Bloody nonsense if you ask me.” And they never wore black sheets again.
He watches and he thinks on the way things are now. Broods. Isn’t that the word?
Apparently, perfect happiness is no longer in his reach. Still, he’s not putting that theory to the test. He’s sticking to this and not getting involved with anyone else.
Maybe it only works because it’s them. Buffy and Spike. Which feels kind of like a sick joke, really. Like all the suffering he’s caused these two beings he loves above all else constitutes the ticket that now allows him to be with them.
Or maybe it’s because they’re not really his anymore – they belong to each other and he’s just tagging along for the ride. Which means that he can still attain perfect happiness after all.
He doesn’t know which option is more discouraging.
Maybe he’s just stopped being naïve. Love hurts. The smell of their blood is both temptation and admonition. Ghastly omen. Sooner or latter one of them will die. Maybe both. And he’ll come home to find a corpse. And a pile of dust. Or not even that.
He hates those calls.
~~ Finis ~~