Sequel to In the Shadows
Summary: Some shadows will cloud you forever.
Pairings / Warnings: B/S/A – kind of (implicito-gall – that’s me!). If the concept of slash and/or threesomes offends you, don’t read.
Timeline: A sequel to “In the Shadows” – I’m going AU, guys! Things will make a lot more sense if you read that first but, if you want to read this as a stand-alone, know that it is AU after “Grave” of BtVS and “Ground State” of AtS. Buffy and Spike are happy together, Angel has been secretly watching them. For the sake of my sanity, Cordy is yet to return – we’ll ignore her for the time being.
Feedback: Always good to know I’m not the only pervert out here. No, seriously now, give me some love ‘cause this fic took me months to get finished and I’m not even sure I got it right.
Disclaimer: Not mine – if they were their little reunion would be angst-free.
Thanks: To my wonderful betas: Lara Dean-Brierley who has the patience to go over my gibberish and the insight to turn it into something worth reading; and Xana who made sure I didn’t trample all over AtS canon, gave valuable advice on Angel and came up with the title.
Author’s note: Please bear in mind that Angel loses his soul when he experiences a moment of “true happiness” (Jenny Calendar’s words and therefore canon). Not when he experiences a perfect lay (Darla, anyone?).
“Coming in or what?” asked Buffy in a neutral voice, her figure outlined by the light from inside. Couldn’t make out her face. She looked both defenseless and threatening with her arms crossed over her breasts.
The illusion of fragility vanished as I came nearer. She extended one hand, invitingly.
“Mi casa es su casa.”
My house. Their home.
They knew I’d been coming to see them. How could they not? Foolish of me to have thought otherwise.
They knew what I wanted too. But they needed to hear me say it.
“Why are you here, Angel?”
So I played the part of the petitioner. And why not? They deserved at least that. They deserve a lot more. A lot better than me. But they had found it – in each other.
And they were willing to share.
She changed. Body grown ripe into the soft curves of womanhood. Adult age most Slayers don’t get to experience. Her hands are thinner and her face has lost the rounded fullness of adolescence.
That’s not all she’s lost. Her eyes are colder – eyes that have seen too much too soon. Gone are the virginal innocence and hesitancy. Her nails are sharp and her mouth demanding. She’s rough and unforgiving – show a little weakness and she’ll take advantage of it.
“Just make sure you don’t get a happy.”
“She’ll kill you if it happens, you know that, right?”
“I know.” My eyes linger on his. “And you?”
“You know the answer.”
He wants to say more. That he’s glad I’m back, that he missed me, that he doesn’t want to lose me again. That he thinks this is too much of a risk and if things go wrong the end result will be not only my death but also their own broken hearts. That he won’t stand to bear her heart broken. Fleeting menace in his eyes. Fair warning.
He doesn’t voice any of the thoughts that dart across his face. Instead he takes mine into his hands and kisses my lips, very tenderly.
“Just remember we love you.”
He changed too.
Some things remain the same.
His sleek movements and cat-like poise.
The way he tauntingly displays himself when he knows he’s being watched.
His exquisitely carved features and Greek statue slenderness.
The promise of perdition and deliverance in those stormy eyes.
I’ve made him so. Irresistible.
She still possesses that aura of purity. It hovers around her like a halo. Joan of Arc in a frilly tank top. Can other people see it? Or do they only register her tinny frame, the cute face and golden hair? What do they think when they notice the unmistakable blaze that makes the air shimmer around her? Do they dismiss it as some optical illusion? Do they turn their heads and just walk way? How can they?
How could I?
God, I missed her so much!
I’m still afraid to touch them.
I do it only when desire overwhelms thought. When every one of their gestures seems to be made with the deliberate intention of seducing me. When their very scent drives me mad with want.
Only then do I throw them on the bed, or pin them against a wall or bend them over the kitchen table.
I try not to be gentle. I force myself not to kiss them. Not to taste their skin. Not to slide my hands over her slopes and his planes. I try not to stare into their eyes when they come. Not to call out their names when I do.
I fail miserably most times.
I have ways to cope.
I watch them all the time.
I watch them talk and laugh and bicker – their way of showing everything’s as it should be between them.
I watch them when it’s just us and when her friends come over. I never show myself – I watch from afar.
I watch them eat and I watch them sleep. I break furtively into their room at night, careful not to make a sound, and lean over the bed to breathe in their scent. Buffy smells of sunshine and summertime, of hope and Slayer. Spike smells of powerful vampire blood, of family and memory – scents not even leather and cigarettes can disguise. And they smell of sex, their scents intermingling in an elixir so potent it’s enough to drive me to my knees.
And yes, I’ve watched that too.
I sit in the living room and watch the walls. There are pictures hung everywhere on them. Dawn, Willow, Harris and Giles. Her mother and a blond girl with dove eyes. Him and her. Together and apart. Their life on display before me.
Every time I come I study the images, committing them to memory as if with each recalled trait they become a bit more mine.
Her photos show a girl growing up surrounded by family and friends. A child in an ice-skating ring. Birthday parties. A high school student dressed in a small skirt holding pompons. A young woman roaming the streets alone at night with a determined face. (I wonder who took those.)
His cover a century of history. Brilliant eyes and that smirk in his mouth. Clothes changing with the passing of decades. Ever present cigarette dangling in his hands or from his lips. A hundred years I didn’t witness.
What do I have to show for all the years I’ve walked this Earth? Only regret.
I notice for the first time an old picture hung in a shadowed corner. Not hidden, just… out of the way. Something meant to be seen only by the ones who placed it there. In the portrait a young woman with huge eyes and long dark hair parted in the middle smiles a sweet girlish smile. There’s something familiar about her. As I approach it, I recognize her.
I sense Buffy behind me. She’s watching me with fierce eyes. No smile in her face.
“Why do you have a picture of Dru?” Puzzlement in my voice.
“Because of something she once taught me.”
It sounds like an accusation.
“And what was that?”
As soon as the words leave my mouth I know I shouldn’t have asked because she glares at me as if I should know. And I don’t.
“That demons can love.”
And I don’t know why I feel I should apologize for that too.
Sometimes I want to hit them. Him. Her. Both.
Hurt them, hurt them, hurt them sings my demon. They are betraying you. They don’t love you. Kill them. And my soul bleeds at the words and wavers in its conviction. And I’m ashamed of my weakness. Ashamed of not trusting them when they’re giving so much already.
I never stay for long and I don’t tell the others where I’ve been (just imagine the look of panic in Fred and Gunn’s faces if they knew). I make up excuses and keep it a secret to remind myself that I do not have the right to be here. Because this feels too much like the forgiveness and redemption I don’t deserve.
When I feel the soul struggling to leave the confines of my body I recall my recent failures. Dead lawyers and dead Sire who wasn’t any more and friends gone amiss and a son so lost to me it is as if he’s dead as well or has never existed. A chain of fiascos and regret and grief that entraps my soul in this plane.
But I’m tired of suffering. Haven’t I paid enough for my sins?
When I leave, I always take their blood with me.
Whether I’ve had them in any other way or not, I make sure I have sunk my fangs into their flesh and feasted on their life essence, tasting their pleasure and their pain. I clutch their bodies to mine and grab them by the hair and viciously pull their heads back, exposing the throat.
I wait for Buffy’s gasp, her heart thundering, fear and survival instinct clashing with growing arousal. I rip Spike’s neck open and I drink till shivers wrack his body. I don’t stop then. I wait for him to plead like he used to so many years ago - I wait for my name in his lips. My other name. Stop, Angelus, stop!
I never lick the wounds closed.
Lest I forget…inside, I’m still the Monster.
~~ Finis ~~