Puppy's Revenge

Part Seven

i don't want love to destroy me

Buffy was extremely nervous about Angel meeting Giles for the first time. On the walk over, she went from holding his hand, to standing a respectable distance from him, to clinging to him like she thought he would explode into dust at any given moment. By the time they reached the door, she was back to standing apart from him and as she knocked, she itched to reach out and touch him one more time. But she didn't.

Giles analyzed the vampire as if he were an ancient artifact that had just become animate and much to Buffy's surprise, Angel acted like he didn't notice. He graciously accepted the offered seat and she watched as he lowered his large frame to the chair. The man made sitting look like an art form and she found that she had to force her eyes away from him, trying to forget what he looked like underneath his black clothes. She blushed as she sat across the room from him and became slightly paranoid, as if Giles and Oz already knew she was mentally in his lap.

"Angel," Giles said, taking a seat next to Oz and pretending not to be nervous that he just invited a blood sucking fiend into his house, "I've read up on your past and I believe I understand the Romany curse. However, I hope you won't find offense if I ask you if your soul is permanent. Is it possible to revert to, um, your previous self?"

"I hope not," Angel answered honestly, "I don't know how the curse could be broken."

"I see," Giles said, reflectively leaning back against the couch, pretending relaxation, "Perhaps the issue warrants some research."

Buffy stifled a laugh at Giles' overactive nerdiness. The man simply couldn't go without having the answer to everything all the time. Despite herself, she found it almost endearing.

"You can try," Angel answered, "But I wouldn't know the first place to look. Those magicks were long lost, even to the Romany themselves."

"So you don't know the curse?" Oz asked, speaking for the first time.

"No," Angel said, shaking his head, "Why would you want it anyway?"

"Willow," Oz mumbled. Angel stifled a growl at the mention of the redhead. He held his tongue and the rumbling in his chest. He knew now how Oz felt about her and didn't regret one bit that he didn't plan to let the bitch live. He didn't want to restore her soul, he wanted to turn her into fertilizer.

"Okay, moving right along," Buffy said, interrupting the awkward silence, "What about the rest of our undead pests?"

"They're too strong," Angel said, bursting all the bubbles in the room, "They need to be taken out one at a time and they like to travel in packs."

"Geez, Mr. Sunshine," Buffy snapped, "Can't we have an idea here?"

"Idea over here," Oz offered. All eyes turned on him and he let the pause last longer than Buffy liked before he started talking again, "Angel can infiltrate and pretend he's one of them again."

"That has some merit," Giles said, cleaning his glasses furiously with excitement. The glimpse of having a decent town again was an utopian ideal that he just couldn't let go of, "Angel, do you think you could fool them long enough to reduce their numbers?"

"Yeah," Angel said, grim faced. He had expected this. He could take them all out, most likely. The thought of staking his entire bloodline would be a welcome release of a certain amount of his brooding, but the things he would have to do to accomplish it. He would lose Buffy over those certain unseemly things. He was certain of it. "I could..."

"But?" Buffy asked, scooting to the edge of her seat and leaning in to listen.

"You don't want that, Buffy," Angel said, struggling for the words to explain, "Becoming who I was...even pretending. You don't want me to do this. Trust me."

"I'm not stupid, Angel. I know what you were. Just try not to kill people while you're pretending. Take out some of them nice and quick, then come back before you get staked. I understand the badness, but I don't get why you're all twitchy about it."

"Maybe we should talk about this in private before we make a decision," Angel urged.

"Why?" Buffy asked, trapped in the world of not getting it and beginning to feel her anger return. Angel was all about helping and then he switched gears suddenly. She should've known she was going to be alone in this fight. Again. Still. Dammit. "If you don't want to do this, just tell me."

"It's not that," Angel pleaded, "I just..."

"What?" Buffy said, feeling the eyes of Giles and Oz on her.

"This isn't a one day thing, Buffy," Angel said, "I was Darla's mate for 150 years. She knows I've changed. I'd have to prove to her that I was back...in ways you wouldn't..."

Angel paused, gathering his argument, "Spike and Drusilla are my brethren..."

"Spit it out!" Buffy said, rising to her feet, "God! What's the point? You're going to have to kill people? Is that what you're saying?"

"No," Angel said, standing to his feet and meeting her angry glare, "I'm saying I was Darla's mate, Buffy! I'm saying that returning to the fold is returning to her bed! It's the only way she would believe it. Vampires are not only about blood, okay? When I was Angelus I fucked anything that moved, which included Darla and Drusilla. I was a master of torture and made killing into an art! I can't walk in and say, ‘Hi guys, I'm back. No, I'm not hungry right now and please don't expect me to sleep with you or do anything I'd would normally do.' Think that's gonna work, baby?"

"I'm sorry," Angel said as Buffy's widen eyes began to tear up, "I didn't mean it to come out that way."

"Me too," Buffy said through gritted teeth, heading for the door. She paused and turned back around, "You know, baby, I don't think this is about killing people or sex. You're afraid of them. You're afraid of yourself!"

"You're right," Angel said to the slamming door and headed toward it, ignoring the slacked jaws of the two remaining people in the room.


i've been down this road before
with a passion that turns into pain

Angel ran after Buffy and caught her arm, spinning her around to face him. An unexpected punch in the face sent him back a step and he immediately returned to her space, sporting his game face.

"This is who I am," Angel growled, "Take a good look, Buffy."

"When will you stop treating me like I've been in a closet until now?" Buffy yelled, "I get that you're a vampire! Trust me, I know."

"I love you," Angel said through a mouthful of fangs, "But I knew I would lose you the moment you offered your love. You said I was afraid. You're damn right! I'm terrified that I will lose you over this."

"What makes you think you have me?" Buffy challenged, hands on her hips, chest heaving with frustration.

"Dammit, Buffy," Angel said, returning to his handsome human face, "Please understand me. I don't want to be with her. I love you. What if I walk back into that world pretending to be something and then become it? Giles wanted to know if I could lose my soul. What if I can?"

"You won't," Buffy said, "I don't want this. But what other choice is there? How can we stop them?"

"I don't know," Angel said sadly, "It might be the only option and I'll do it if you ask me to. I can't promise that things won't happen, things we will both regret."

"Angel!" Oz said, sprinting from Giles' door. Angel turned and faced the boy, waiting for him to continue, "Please don't kill Willow. I know she's evil, but I'll find the curse."

"I can't make any promises," Angel answered, "I know you love her. But you know, she's brilliant. She might figure it out before the rest. If she does, I'll be forced to kill her."

"I know she tortured you. This is asking a lot but please, promise me you'll try," Oz said, seeing through Angel's argument. He saw the look in Angel's eyes at the mention of her name. Angel glanced at Buffy and sighed deeply. Love was a bitch.

"You're right. It is asking a lot," Angel snapped after a long hesitation, "But I promise I'll try."

"Thank you," Oz said, turning back toward Giles' flat. Leaning toward the genius side himself, Oz now had a new goal that would dominate all his time until he achieved it. He felt strange with this level of determination but knew that if Willow died, a large part of himself would fall to ash with her.


you make me sick
i want you and i'm hatin' it

Angel stalked after Buffy toward the mansion. She walked in silence, focusing on the sound of their angry footsteps. Into the mansion, the silence continued, cracking the walls with its fierceness. Buffy stopped in the middle of the Great Room and looked around. What the hell was she doing there? She couldn't go into the bedroom, that was for damn sure and she couldn't remain standing there with his eyes digging into her skin.

"I hate you," she swore, turning on him, dry eyed and furious, "I hate that you can make me feel this way."

"I don't want this, Buffy," Angel said, sucking in the anger he knew was his, "I don't want to hurt you. I want to be a normal guy in love with a normal girl, but that's not the deal."

"Yeah, I'm getting that," Buffy said, turning toward the door again, "I'm not as intensely stupid as you think I am. Go to Darla. Fuck your mate and hopefully you'll have the sack to kill her."

Buffy didn't have a chance to react when she found herself pressed against the atrium wall, Angel's insistent arousal pressing into her stomach and a strangely sexy growl coming from his throat.

"You are my mate," he growled, grinding against her, "I don't want her, I want you. That's what I've been trying to say but you're not fucking listening to me."

"Whatever," Buffy whimpered, trying to sound sure and failing miserably. To believe he loved her was still difficult. As beautiful as one night of making love to him had been, he was still a demon. And he was still a man, which was even more frightening to the woman inside The Slayer. He already had the power to crush her and it was a paralyzing realization. His power over her was more than she could handle. After so long of being by herself, depending on no one, even the thought of depending on him was breaking her down. She had no idea how much he was already depending on her, how much power she held in her tiny hands.

"When are you going to believe me?" Angel growled, releasing her and stepping away. Her nearly silent moan of disappointment didn't escape his ears, however, and it gave him a tiny twinge of hope, "I want to spend every moment with you! Not Darla, not Drusilla. The only person I've loved in my entirely too long life is YOU. I love you, Buffy. I don't care about anything else. If you want me to go to them, I will. If you want me to take out every goddamn vampire in the world, I will but you have to promise me you'll forgive me for what I have to do."

"I can't promise that," Buffy answered honestly, "I want to trust you, but I can't. I can't allow myself to be that weak."

"You think I'm not weak?" Angel said, struggling to control his exasperation, "You think it's not hard for me to give myself to you, knowing you can gut me with a few words? What happened to the whole love speech you gave me last night? What happened to us deserving this?"

"I don't know," Buffy said, perching on the edge of the empty fountain, "I do love you, Angel. I want to trust you, I really do."

Angel crossed the room and knelt between her legs. His cool fingers intertwined with hers, squeezing her hands, "Do you want me to do it?"

"Yes," Buffy said, while shaking her head no. Tears began to well in her eyes as she met his, "I can't stand the thought of you and her..."

"I only make love you to," he said, "I've only ever made love to you."

"Have I mentioned that I hate you?" she said, smiling through her tears.

"You might've mentioned that," Angel said with a crooked, half smile.


"I'm not going to miss you," Buffy lied unconvincingly as she laid her head on his chest and traced his stomach muscles with the tip of her finger.

"I know," he lied back, "I knew you were tired of me already."

"I am," she said with an exaggerated sigh, "You're just so boring."

"I get that a lot," he said huskily as his large hand caressed her back, sending shivers down her spine.

"When are you leaving?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Tonight," Angel said, "Before sunrise."

"Tonight?" she asked, sitting up and bracing her small hands on his chest.

"I can't put it off," he answered, "It'll just torture us both until it's over."

Buffy's whole body tensed with the word "over." Until what is over? Killing the cadre of master vampires waiting across town or the fledgling relationship trembling like a leaf in a hurricane?


kinda funny, but i wasn't even nervous

Angel walked into the main room of the collapsed church which used to be the Master's holding cell. Darla was in the middle of one of her famous speeches. He almost laughed as he watched her. She just loved an audience, loved the lustful gaze of the male vampires touching her skin.

"Hatched a plan to kill me yet?" Angel asked with a cold smile, adopting the cocky swagger of his old self as he crossed the room.

"Well, this is an unexpected surprise," Darla said, returning his smile.

He felt the whole room prickling against him, tensing for a fight. He inhaled deeply and grabbed the vampire nearest to him by the sides of his face. He twisted and pulled up at the same time, ripping the demon's head from his shoulders. He let the room watch as the head in his hands became dust and joined the rest of his body on the floor. He easily kicked off the three vampires who dared attack him and growled at the room, "That was a lesson."

"A lesson?" Darla asked, intrigued, swinging her hips as she closed half the distance between them.

"Yeah," Angel nodded with his best Angelus-esque sneer, "No one fucks you but me. The next vamp that dares trespass over my territory will lose more than his head."

"Angelus?" she whispered with hope in her eyes.

"Yeah baby," he answered, "I'm back."


Part Eight

LYRICS: All lyrics are by Nine Inch Nails.

WARNING: All vampires are fair game for me to kill off. Please do not get upset if a vamp you like is dusted.


i'm not sure of what i should do when everything i'm thinking of is you

Buffy used to use anger, cynicism and accepting the harsh reality of what was to make things easier. Not happier, but easier. Angel ruined all that for her. He didn't spend hours defining his points of view, didn't chatter on about the dreams inside him, but she knew them anyway. She felt as if, in the short time they had spent together, he had been her guide to find her way through the eyes of a long extinct tribe.

As she sat in the atrium and silently watched the sun rise, signaling the barbed validity of his absence, she thought about who he used to be, what he was before he found his soul again. So many people died at his hands, so much blood had been spilled and yet with the return of his essence, he became something entirely new. The laws of nature realigned for him and instead of returning to what he was when he was human, he was transformed into something else instead.

Maybe the mansion knew his secrets, the legend of his life. Sadly, even as the thought crossed her mind, she was sure this place, just like every other, was left in the dark like she was. The marble floors seemed to groan at her footsteps and she lightly caressed the walls as she passed them, trying to feel him there. The bedroom was heaving when she arrived there, as if he were already dead. Buffy found herself taking on his fears and wondered if he would actually lose his soul by pretending to return to what he was. As much as she feared that horrible possibility, she just couldn't make herself believe he could be that evil again. His soul was so beautiful, it could stand up on its own and walk around if it wanted to.

Buffy showered slowly and dressed. She walked even more slowly toward Sunnydale High School, knowing full well that she was late, but couldn't make herself care. Not when Angel could die any moment; not when he could be dead now, not when he could be in bed with one of the beautiful undead members of his fold.

She thought that she would be upset with his departure. She was certain that she would be sad, but in the crisp morning air, she wasn't gasping or wheezing, wasn't trying to hold back the tears. She was stopped emotionally, as she physically moved toward school. Her soul was quaking and she was certain she wasn't breathing. She put a couple of nails in those mental floor boards, trapping her sorrow down below her fears and mounted the concrete steps in front of the school. As she moved to her seat in front of Oz, passing the students like they didn't exist, she wondered if they could hear her heart creaking underneath the weight of their glances.

That teacher with his pleasant green eyes and his long slender fingers, uncalloused by manual labor; that teacher with his proper educational voice, made her want to snap out of her funk long enough to punch him right in the center of his wire framed glasses. How could he talk about History when Angel was in bed with Darla? When he was falling into a million particles of ash in the sewers? She breathed fire across the class at him and he didn't notice. Oz didn't notice either. In fact, after 20 minutes, Buffy wasn't really sure she was even there. His lesson was a puffing barrier between them and his moving lips droned about World War II. The longer she watched, the more he bruised and became purple in her fantasy.

He passed out papers to the class and a single sheet sat on the desk in front of her, indifferent to her cause. She wanted to read it, wanted to be able to read it, but it couldn't solve her problems, couldn't save Angel, certainly couldn't save love. She suddenly realized they were all staring at her, the teacher and the students and she stared back and forth between them, ping pong, ping pong, until Oz picked pointed absently at her paper. She picked up her pen, held the edge of the page to keep it from escaping and tried to focus on what it said. But she couldn't make the letters form words, so she stood and walked silently back out into the day.


terrible lie

Inside his family's lair, Angel smelled memories, blood, death and arousal - the aroma of nausea. Darla immediately crossed the room to her mate and rubbed against him, feeling his cold skin for herself, as if it would betray who he really was. He fought the urge to push her away or gag over her shoulder. He could barely believe that there used to be a time when he craved her touch, when he wished his soul would leave again so that life could be as it was. Now all he wanted was to return to Buffy's arms and pretend this lair didn't exist.

"Angelus," she repeated as he wrapped his arms around her, "God, I missed you."

"Yeah," he said, in a noncommital soulless voice and turned out of her arms, "We've got some messes to clean up around here."

"Now that you're back," she said, smiling suggestively, "We should catch up first. Pleasure before business, lover."

"Where are Spike & Drusilla?" he asked, ignoring her suggestion and prying into her eyes.

"What's wrong with you?" she said, raising a brow, already suspecting him for a fake.

"In due time, baby," he said with a smile, "First, we need to attend to our children. You know that they're plotting against you?"

"Of course," she answered haughtily, "Spike is always plotting."

"Well," he said, making his eyes flash with emphasis, "while I was out trapped with my soul, they tried to convince me to help them kill you."

"Really?" she said, before looking around the room, "Anyone know where Spike and Drusilla are hiding?"

A wave of whispers crossed the room but no one spoke up. Angel smiled at the room and almost laughed as he remembered the one thing he had forgotten for far too long - no vampire could be trusted. A master ruled by fear and fear alone. Half of the vamps in the room probably were planning on trying to dust the bitch at the first chance they got.

"Things are going to change around here," Angel growled.

"Aww, Puppy," Willow said, standing up from Xander's lap in the corner and making her way half way across the room. Angel met her the rest of the way and wrapped his hand around her pale throat.

"Puppy died," he said calmly, "But I carry his memories."

"You gonna punish me for being bad?" she asked and he almost thought he dreamed the arousal attacking his nostrils. If Angel imagined it, then so did Xander, because he stood up defensively.

"Back off," Xander growled in defensive of his mate, but was actually more angry about her arousal than the large hand around her throat.

"Sit down, Xander," Angel ordered and glared at the younger vampire until he lowered himself back to his seat, "She's not your mate anymore, boy. She belongs to me. They all belong to me."

"Just cause you got off your leash, doesn't make you master," Xander muttered, from his sitting position.

"No, the fact that I'm master makes me master," Angel growled, tightening his grip on Willow's throat. The feel of her bones beginning to give beneath his fingers was the best thing he'd felt since leaving Buffy.

"Angel," Darla said, skipping across the room, now convinced that he was who he said he was, "There's time for torture later."

Angel pushed Willow back against the wall and turned on his Sire and ex-mate. Knowing his role, he pulled her roughly into his arms and kissed her. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to pretend she was Buffy, but she was too cold.


no time to hesitate. i want a little bit, i want a piece of it. i think he's losing it

With each step, Buffy moved into the narrow space between who she used to be and who she was becoming. She cared, she didn't care, she loved, she hated. She was fury. She was sorrow. It took her far too long to realize that Angel's fears were multilayered and goddamn color coded. She wanted things to be simple, consisting of jealousy and the fear of losing her and his soul. But things were never that easy.

He was afraid of the future or lack of it. The idea of becoming a fiend that she would have to kill was only part of what he feared. His own death wasn't the issue either, but the potential pain it would cause her. He would not only lose her and himself, but any hope of glimpsing the future he dared to dream about.

It all rested on the fangs of a couple of undead assholes with power trips. For the first time, she began to think of Angel as hers and more specifically as her mate. It was a new feeling, a freshly painted perspective. It made her body tremble with the anticipation of violence. The first thing that had to go was that whore, who was no doubt trying to get in those irresistible leather pants he had slid into that morning.

She barely noticed as Oz jogged up behind her. He came up beside her and fell into the same rhythm as her and she ignored him for over a block. Finally, the taciturn boy spoke.

"Angel went?" Oz asked, in a light voice that came from someone who was almost out of breath, but not quite.

"Yep," she answered.

"Where are you going?" He asked, feeling that her quickened strides merited a destination.

"To save him," she said. Oz's light touch on her arm, made her stop and face him. He was too kind, too calm and it was seriously pissing her off. She almost yelled when she spoke again, "Are you going to try and stop me? Cause I really don't have time for the you're-putting-yourself-in-danger speech."

"No," he said, shaking his head, "Really not much with the lectures, actually. But I'm not gonna lie and say I'm not on that bandwagon."

"Oh yeah?" Buffy snorted, "What a surprise. If you're not going to talk me into staying then what do you want?"

"I wanna come with you."

"No way, buddy," Buffy said, turning and continuing her trek toward her lover, "I'm not going to be responsible for your death."

"I have to make sure Willow gets out of this alive," he said simply.

"I thought you were going to look for the curse," she snapped, "Why don't you go burrow into a book with Jeeves?"

"We found the spell," he said. She ground to a halt and snapped her head to stare at him.

"You what?!"

"Okay, not exactly," he amended, "But Giles has a friend who researches ancient Romany cultural traditions. He's contacting her to see if she can help."

"Well, go wait by the phone then," Buffy said, moving forward once more.

"I'm just going to follow you."

"Fine," Buffy said, "But if you trip into some fangs, it's not my problem."

Oz smiled as he walked along with her. Her harsh words were false and they both knew it. He saw through her thin veneer. She was trying to harden on the inside. She thought it would help her to fight. As much as he thought he wouldn't, he couldn't help but genuinely like The Slayer.


the devil wants to fuck me

Darla led him through the main chamber and he glared at every lesser vampire he passed, making sure that as much evil he could muster passed through his eyes. They believed his return and were afraid. He twisted his face into a cold smile as he returned to his human features. He knew he had already lost Buffy. He knew that nothing would be okay after this was over. And with that knowledge came a ruthlessness that he wouldn't have been able to muster before.

He followed the shapely blonde to the bedroom and she stopped outside the door, claiming his lips again. He kissed her angrily, roughly and she mistook his actions for passion. He gripped her upper arms and almost felt them bruising as he wrenched her away from him. He turned around quickly and faced his pair of children.

"Well, well, well," Spike said, with a huge grin, "What the hell is going on here?"

"Spike," Angel spat, but in truth, he wanted to kiss Spike next. The boy deserved a reward for interrupting him and his Sire.

"My Angel," Drusilla said, swaying in a nonexistent breeze. Angel tensed, knowing if anyone would see through him, it would be her. He searched his memory for the correct action in this situation and crossed the room to her. Slamming her against the wall, he entangled his fingers in her hair and bit at her full lips. He heard Spike groan from several feet away. Smiling at Spike's pain and knowing Darla was steaming behind him, he moved his hand to her full breast, brushing his thumb over the light material hiding her erect nipple. She moaned, leaning against his touch.

"Angelus," Spike growled, baring his fangs to his Grande Sire, "You've been gone too bloody long to waltz in here and starting molesting my mate."

"I've been gone too long," Angel said, turning his attentions from Dru to Spike, "You're right, cause you don't seem to remember your place here."

"Pecking orders are all askew," Spike said, standing up taller. Angel's boot caught Spike squarely in the throat and the blonde vampire made a choking sound as he hit the floor. Angel bent over and picked him up, slamming him against the wall, only to rear back and punch him several times before speaking again.

"I'm gonna straighten it out," Angel growled. Using his anger as an escape, he stalked away from the three and headed back out into the main room. He was already thinking about how he might be able to get out of this, when, just outside the main room, he was pulled into a side chamber.


i'm one of the chosen ones

Buffy and Oz walked through the sewers in silence, creeping along in almost total darkness. Buffy followed what she thought was her intuition toward Angel. After they had traveled half in mile in the tunnels, she realized that there was a reason she knew when to turn and when to continue straight. The soul of her mate was like a spiritual trail of breadcrumbs.

Three vampires were staked quickly before they even reached the lair for being at the wrong place and in the path of the wrong Slayer. Oz was startled at her efficiency and by the fact that she barely lost her stride as she killed them. These fledglings were no cause for alarm for her. They weren't the real threat, but a bunch of chilly obstacles in the way of her real goal.

She stopped outside of the fallen chapel and snuck a glance at Oz. She nodded silently at him, letting him know that they had arrived. Lowering to a crouch, she inched closer to the door. Oz crept behind her, looking around him frequently and breathing down her neck. The fact that the person behind her was breathing was a welcome annoyance as she moved ahead.

The large chamber was overflowing with vampires. She half expected to see bodies of innocents chained to the wall, while they sipped off them like party favors but this crowd was nothing like what she expected. She figured that Angel's return had its desired effect because they were all talking among themselves in low voices. The room was dripping with nervousness and fear. It smelled sweet and Buffy Summers smiled at the sight.

Spike and Drusilla entered the room, with an authoritative flourish. Although they clearly were not the bosses here, they ranked above everyone else. They were the only ones who didn't look afraid or nervous. Drusilla had a soft, dreamy smile on her smooth face and Spike was a step away from breathing fire. He tossed several vamps out of his way as he stormed into the room. A furious roar collided with the room as the pissed off vampire began beating out his frustrations on the others.


my lips may promise but my heart is a whore

"Willow," Angel said, coating his voice in silk as she pressed him against the wall in the dark.

"I only hoped this would happen," Willow hummed against his neck, "I've wanted to meet the real you for a long time."

"Is that so?" Angel asked, switching their positions so she was pinned against the wall rather than him. Her arousal was filling the small room, begging for his notice.

"Mmmm, yes," she whispered, as his fingers dug into the soft flesh just above her hip bones. She ground against him, trying to gain access to his body, but he held her just a few unbearable inches from himself.

"You have to be punished before you're rewarded," he growled, pushing her harder against the wall, "I can't just forget how you treated this body before, can I?"

"Guess not," she pouted.

"You would make a brilliant little apprentice of torture, baby," he said, giving her a tiny bit of well deserved praise. For an almost brand new vampire, she was well acquainted with the world of pain and pleasure, "But you could use a couple of pointers."

"I made you crawl," she said, brightly smiling at him, "I made you scream."

"But you didn't break me," he said, smiling back, "Shame. You were so close."

He moved away from her and she pulled him back, clutching his tight, leather clad ass with both hands. He placed one large hand on her sternum and nearly cracked it as he pushed her against the wall again, reminding her of her place.

"I want you," she whispered, "You're too good for Darla."

"I know," he said, pulling away from her, "But I told you. Punishment first."

"Then punish me," she whimpered, remaining obediently against the wall. He met her eyes, glowing in the dark and traced her jaw line with his fingertip.

"There's only one way you'll get even a small taste of me," he said, emanating his best arrogance.

"What?" she panted, "What way?"

"Your mate," he growled.

"Xander?" she said, with a warm smile.

"Yes," he said, nodding slowly, "Kill him."

"And Darla?" she whispered, licking her lips.

"I'll take care of her," he answered, moving from the room, "But Xander goes first."


i can almost see the blackest eyes, the new flesh, a new disguise

Spike was so enraged, every male vampire in the room seemed like a threat to his mate. He dusted two before Drusilla's soft whisper of his name reached his ears.

"What?" he roared, turning to her.

"Spike," she whispered for a third time. She was paler than normal and her lips were nearly turning blue as she began to wail. He rushed to her side and held her as her vision took over.

"What?" he repeated, in a now concerned voice, "What do you see, love?"

"Death," she answered, leaning against his shoulder, "There are piles of it everywhere, Spike. We're fading. We're all going to fade."

She raised her eyes to look at him and then turned her head like a woman possessed and stared at the entrance. Spike followed her gaze to stare at what he couldn't see, but now smelled.

"Fee, fi, fo, fum," he said, standing up. He pulled Dru to her feet and tucked her into his side. She leaned her dark head on his shoulder, keeping her dark eyes trained on the door as Spike continued his sentence, "I smell the blood of a...little girl."


Part Nine

LYRICS: All lyrics are by Nine Inch Nails.
RATING: Probably NC-17



you say it's enough, in fact it's too much

Giles waited impatiently for his friend's Romany contact to knock on his door. She was 15 minutes late and he found himself performing menial tasks around the house to keep his mind occupied. If they could find the key to restore the souls of the master vampires, then there was so more hope that he ever thought possible. He was beginning to get irritated at her tardiness, but for a man who was fairly ruffled, when he opened the door, all his edges smoothed and began to hum.

Jenny Calendar sauntered into his apartment and offered an almost warm smile as her greeting. Rupert Giles stared at her for a second with his mouth hanging open before gathering his senses long enough to offer her a seat and a spot of tea. She accepted graciously and Giles wandered to the kitchen in a daze, preparing tea for the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. The sharp intelligence in her eyes was an elixir to her startling beauty and he couldn't believe she was in his living room, sitting his chair, gathering her notes, waiting to help him.

"Um," Giles started, clearing his throat, "I understand you have already been informed of the reason for our meeting."

"Yes," she said, accepting the tea and looking over the handsome British man stumbling over his words. She gaged his age as probably 10 or 15 years her senior and by just casting a glance around the apartment, he seemed to be more than your average bookworm. She settled into her chair and allowed a section of her nervousness peel away. She would come to no harm in this man's home. The protection spell she had been repeating inside her head disappeared as she looked into his kind eyes, "This has something to do with the restoration spell my people performed on Angelus in the 1800s?"

"Yes," he said, nodding at her, "I would like to know if it's possible to perform the spell on another vampire as well."

"No," she said, with a straight, unsmiling face. Giles met her gaze solidly and she could have been speaking Aramaic for all he cared at that moment. Yes, no, maybe - it all led to spending more time together.

"Angel said that he thought those magicks were lost to your people," Giles said after a pronounced pause, "But I thought there might be a way around it."

"So you've met Angel, then?" she asked, raising an eyebrow with interest.


still feel it all slipping away
but it doesn't matter anymore
look through these blackened eyes

Angel watched Willow slither out of the dark side chamber and leaned against the wall for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts. His mind was playing tricks on him, though, because he was certain he sensed Buffy. Hell, she could be in the next room the way his heart was begging him to pound. He took a deep unneeded breath as he headed out of the room to go to Darla. He knew he had to figure out a way to kill her off without arising the suspicion of the rest. If he could accomplish it without having sex with her first, it would be a perfect situation, but he sincerely doubted that would happen.

As he moved silently through the hallway, he picked up the sound of Spike throwing a tantrum in the main chamber and smiled broadly. Spike's frustration at how Drusilla had reacted to him was enough to send a tiny bit of pleasure into his troubled mind. When he reached the room, Darla was waiting there for him in a silk robe. He didn't need to get any closer to know that the red silk hid her nakedness underneath. He smiled at her and was thankful that Angelus wasn't required to show love. He wanted to kill her, watch the crimson robe disappear with the rest of her.

She leaned back in the bed and looked him over hungrily and he imagined how many times she must have done this for other men before she was turned, when she was still a prostitute. Her throaty call to him was his cue to stop thinking and start acting, so he forced himself forward, hoping that inertia would aid him, because will wasn't helping.

The scuffle in the other room suddenly sounded a like a war and he paused, listening. He knew from the rasping sounds of the undead yelling, "Slayer," that he hadn't imagined her presence before. Turning on his heel, he headed back out of the room.


i'm the one without a soul
i'm the one with this big fucking hole

Buffy glared at Oz with a look that meant stay hidden and stood to reveal herself to half the vampire population in Sunnydale. She glanced around the room nervously for a second and then smiled at them broadly, "You know, you guys really should hire a decorator for this place. It doesn't have that welcoming vibe, ya know?"

"Oh, we're welcoming," Spike said as The Slayer edged into the room. She was beautiful with her blonde hair falling over her shoulders in soft curls and he could see that every muscle in her body was tensed for the battle. It was intoxicating.

"Yeah," she snorted sarcastically, as she staked a vamp who inched too closely to her, "I'm feelin' the love in here."

Spike gave the nod and the room moved into action, surrounding her. She swung and kicked them off her, feeling the odds narrowing until her death seemed certain, as they kept coming back for more. She managed to stake 4 more before they grabbed her arms, holding her for Spike. She yanked and tugged at them but was trapped in their grips.

Spike was grinning as he approached her, "Well, you're going to be my third Slayer. This is exciting."

"Spike," a lesser vamp from across the room said quietly.

"What?" Spike yelled, turning his head toward the minion who continued speaking, "Shouldn't you alert the Master before you kill her?"

"You fucking wimps are sickening," Spike said, still approaching her, "I don't need *his* permission to kill her."

Buffy swung up and kicked Spike's chest with both legs, sending him flying across the room and against the wall. Dust fell on his head and shoulders from the aging church ceiling and he stood with a loud growl.

"Someone grab her fucking legs, for crying out loud!" he yelled. Two vamps scurried to her feet and grabbed her legs and were bucked off. Two other moved to their place and held her fast.

"Ready to die, Slayer?" Spike asked as he moved ahead.

"Not really,"she said casually, feeling her fear increasing as he moved closer. Angel was nowhere in sight and she was going to die here. She looked around the room and held her breath as Spike lowered his mouth to her neck. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to keep from screaming Angel's name. She couldn't blow his cover. Even if she died, he could still take out the group.


covered with hope

Giles turned to look at the door as Oz came barreling through it. He was out of breath as he looked over The Watcher and the attractive dark haired woman sitting in his living room.

"What's wrong?" Giles asked, standing.

"Buffy," Oz panted, "She's caught. Need a crossbow or something."

"You two left school to hunt vampires?" Giles asked, moving toward the weapons trunk.

"Yeah," Oz nodded, following him and pulling a crossbow out, "We were trying to save Willow and Angel."

Giles gathered a crossbow for himself and looked quickly at Jenny as he moved toward the door, "I apologize for the interruption in our meeting. I have to help my Slayer. Will you wait until return?"

"No," she answered, shaking her head and rising to her feet. Giles' face fell as he heard her word and then smiled as she said, "I'll come with you."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Giles protested, "It's very dangerous."

"Quit being a chauvanist pig," she said, sweeping past them into the afternoon sunshine, "You have no idea whether I can defend myself or not."

"You're right," Giles said, as Oz led the way to the crypt, "I apologize."

"I mean honestly, Rupert," she said, walking quickly on her high heels, "I would think since your warrior is a woman you would've reached this century. Guess not."


stains like the blood on your teeth

Buffy opened her eyes when the bite didn't come and she heard a very familiar feral growl. She looked up to find Angel holding Spike by his neck. The bleach blonde was dangling several inches off the floor caught in Angel's grip before he tossed him away with a snort of disgust.

"Don't need my permission, huh?" he growled.

"No, I bloody don't!" Spike growled back as he stood and faced his Sire, "I don't see your mark on her! You may think you're the Master around here, but you'll never be the damn Master of me."

"Your dust may disagree," Angel said, pulling Drusilla to his side. She molded around him and beamed happily by his side, oblivious to Spike's anger, "And I know you smelled my scent on her, boy!"

"So you fucked the bint," Spike said, hiding his fear, even though he was certain Angelus would kill him any moment, "Doesn't make her yours."

Angel glanced over at Buffy and recognized fear in her eyes, but it was quickly dwarfed by jealousy, as she looked from Angel to Drusilla. He couldn't believe his eyes. He knew she would have a problem with the other women involved in this charade but she seemed more upset by the attractive vampiress at his side than her impending death. He quickly weighed his options and then moved away from Drusilla.

He didn't want to do what he was about to do, but he didn't think he had a choice. He met Buffy's eyes and held her there, pulling her inside him mentally. After a few quiet moments, she stood, glassy eyed before him, caught in his thrall. He was disgusted with himself as he waved the vampires off of her. When he was soulless, he used to love doing this - catching attractive women in his thrall and making him do things they would never do otherwise. Plagued with an eternal soul and conscience, he had not tried this little trick in over a hundred years. A part of him realized, that if Buffy wasn't in love with him this would never work on a Slayer. But it did and he called to her to him.

She crossed the room obediently and stood less than an inch from him, her hot body just a slight lean from touching him. He bared his fangs and lowered to her throat. She wrapped her arms around him and as he prepared to break her skin, she whispered, "I'm not under your thrall. Please don't make me hurt you."

His kissed her neck as the shock of her words moved through him and then whispered, "Just play along, love."

As he broke her skin, she winced in pain and tried to keep her face neutral.

I trust him, she told herself over and over as she felt her life shifting from her body into his, I trust him.


well i can reduce you if i want
well i can devour

"You think I'm stupid, Will?" Xander growled as his mate's naked body perched on his, still shaking from her release.

"What do ya mean?" she asked, squeezing his cock with her inner muscles as she began moving over him again.

"This is a goodbye fuck, if I've ever seen one," he said through gritted teeth as she moved more urgently over him. She remained silent as she rolled in the feel of him, memorizing the memory to keep with her for all of eternity. She would miss Xander, but the sacrifice was small if she would get Angel out of the deal. She growled and leaned, biting into his throat, savagely tearing at his smooth throat.

"I'm not going to let you kill me," he roared, pushing her away from his neck, but not off of his lap.

"You don't have a choice," she whispered, licking his blood off of her lips. With a sudden lunge, she grabbed his face, twisting his neck and listening to the beautiful sound of his bones breaking and his horrified scream. Moving down, she returned to his neck, sucking every drop she could of his powerful blood and ignoring his weakening arms attempting to push her away. She slipped out of bed and looked down at her broken lover after she retrieved the stake she had hidden in her dresser for moments like these. Xander wasn't the first lover she had dusted in this bedroom, he was just the first one she actually would miss.

"You don't want to do this, Will," he groaned, "He'll betray you."

She didn't answer him as she plunged the stake into his heart and watched him explode beneath the bedclothes. A moment of pause was required for her mate, the one who had shared her life with her, both before her turning and after. She rose from the bed and dressed, now free to find her new lover.


you let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
you let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you
help me i broke apart my insides, help me i've got no soul to sell
help me the only thing that works for me, help me get away from myself

"Dear God," Giles whispered as he watched Angel drinking from his Slayer. He raised his crossbow with shaking hands and waited for the vampire to step away so he would have a clear shot to his heart. He knew he shouldn't have trusted a vampire.

"It's a ruse," Oz reminded him, "He won't kill her."

"He better not," Giles whispered back. He snuck a glance at Jenny, whose dark eyes were sweeping over the room, seeming to strike out at the evil pressed into the room. He heard her whispering phrases in Latin softly at his side and strained to make out her words, but couldn't.

Giles sighed with relief as Angel broke away from her neck and licked her wound before pulling up completely.

"Everyone got the message?" Angel asked the room.

"You're going to let her live?" Spike asked incredulously, gesturing wildly at the still standing Slayer.

"Yes," Angel said calmly, "I'm not done with her yet."

"You're pussy whipped by a Slayer?" Spike growled angrily.

"That's what I'd like to know," Darla asked, slinking into the room, still in her red robe, "Cause you've been here how long and still haven't made it into my bed?"

Buffy stood still, waiting for her cue to do...well, anything. She felt her wound pulsing on the side of her neck, baring his "mark" - whatever the hell that meant. She felt dizzy from the loss of blood and swayed slightly. She ground her feet into the floor and waited. The only joy she had was the new knowledge that he hadn't slept with Darla. Even in the midst of so much danger, it was funny what things were important. It was extremely important to Buffy that Angel never made it to her bed.

"I told you, baby," Angel growled, "Some business needs to be attended to first."

"Like protecting this little slut?" Darla mused, looking her over, "I thought when you lost your soul you would be over her."

"Spare me," Angel sighed, trying to muster as much Angelus attitude as he could, "I know you think you have a right to be jealous, but she's human. Not like you haven't spread for more than one human cock since I've been gone."

"Beside the point," she purred, pressing against him and rubbing his groin over the leather as if no one else was in the room, "There's only one cock I want now."

Buffy felt the gag impulse quickly approaching as the vampiress touched Angel. No one should touch Angel like that but her. She scowled at the blonde and after several moments, Darla turned to face her.

"If you don't care about her," Darla said, "Then kill her."

"Quit the jealous mate bullshit," Angel growled, peeling her off of him, "I'll kill her when I'm ready...I'm thinking about turning her actually."

"What?" Darla screamed, "What the hell is going on here, Angelus?"

"I'm tired," Angel answered, "After 150 years of nothing but you, I'm bored, you see. She's just so...innocent and delicious."

"I'll kill you before I allow you to turn her," Darla growled, showing her demon with her outrage, "How dare you tell me you're tired of me! I know how to please you like no other woman ever could. After 150 years, I know every inch of your body."

"Exploration's half the fun," he taunted, loving the pain he dealt the woman who had made him a demon, "She's new. Sweet and new."

"And dead," Darla growled, moving across the room to The Slayer. Buffy smiled broadly and slipped her hand in her waistband, pulling out her spare stake. She flung it at the approaching vampire and her smile disappeared as Darla batted it away.

Angel caught her less than a foot from Buffy and Darla pulled roughly from him. Darla twisted away from him and yelled, "What the fuck is going on? She's not in your goddamn thrall!"

"No," Angel said, smiling pulling his own stake from his waistband and plunging it into the heart of his Sire, "She's not."