When Angels Fall

Part One

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com
DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course.
SPOILERS: A different spin on "The Gift"
DISTRIBUTION: Sure, just let me know.
FEEDBACK: Please feed me! Need it to go on!
RATING: R for language

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Let's just say, for grins (and to make my fic work), that Angel made it back from Pylea the day the portal was going to open. K?

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Pearl Jam.


The key was living energy. It needed to be channeled, poured into a specific time. The energy would flow into that spot. The walls between dimensions break down. It stops, the energy's used up, the walls come back up. Glory uses that time to get back into her own dimension, not caring that all manner of hell will be unleashed on earth in the meantime. (Giles, "The Gift)

Blood is life, lackbrain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going. Makes you warm. Makes you hard. Makes you other than dead. Course it's her blood. (Spike, "The Gift")


cannot find the comfort in this world
artificial tear...vessel stabbed...

The moment they passed through the portal, the energy lacing through Angel's undead body was not what he felt. Buffy filled his brain, lashing out in long, painful violent strokes, screaming and Angel screamed with it. He roared. Cordy, Gunn, Wesley, Lorne and Fred stared at the vampire as he fell to his knees and choked up blood.

Two hours later, Angel ran past the Scooby core, who stood, staring up at The Slayer and The Key, now alone on the tower. A peace settled over Angel that ebbed through the lightning and destruction, over the emerging demons and through the crackling air. The peace and calm coming from his former lover created a greater panic than before.

Angel ran, begging his vampiric speed for just a little more and as he made his way, dodging cracks of light, mental patients, screaming fiends and craters forming in the ground. He sprung up the tangled tower of twisted metal, willing his legs to pick up speed.


grasp and hold on...hold tight and fast...
soon be over...and I will relent...

Buffy held Dawn by her upper arms, as lightning continued to slash the sky and demons poured in a steady flow from the widening portal.

"Dawn, listen to me. Listen. I love you. I will always love you. But this is the work that I have to do. Tell Giles...tell Giles I figured it out. And, and I'm okay. And give my love to my friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other now. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world...is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me."

Buffy stroked Dawn's tear stained cheek and then kissed it before she turned and ran. Dawn stood, sobbing, as her sister made it to the end of the metal plank and leapt off the end in a graceful swan dive.

Angel landed on the top of the tower as Buffy left it. He jumped and catching his feet in the square hole near the end, reached down and desperately reached for his beloved. His fingers made contact with the cuff of her gray pants and it was enough for him to get a better hold. He tossed her back behind him and her left wrist snapped with the force as she met the waffled metal.

"NO!" Buffy screamed as she stood and tried to get past him to jump off again. There was no time for goodbyes. The portal was opening wider and the earth was infesting with Hell. He pushed her back. Buffy punched him hard and maneuvered around him, nearly making it back to the edge.

"Please!" Buffy screamed, her eyes filled with panic, "I have to jump. Now!"

"No," Angel growled. He grabbed her and ruthlessly sunk his fangs into her neck, stealing the precious Summer's blood, soaking the key into himself. He dropped her nearly lifeless form at Dawn's feet and dove.

His large body buoyed in the center of the portal and Buffy crawled to the edge, grasping the metal with her weak fingers to look down at his body. Light stung him from all sides and his mouth was open in a silent scream that Buffy could not see but feel. She was quickly losing consciousness from loss of blood and fought to remain awake as she watched him rock back and forth in a violent dance inside the power of the portal.

The sunrise was just beginning casting pinks and oranges into the sky and the horizon looked close enough to caress. Dawn helped Buffy to her feet and they slowly descended the tower as Angel's body fell. He landed on a jagged pile of rock and destroyed earth and did not move.

watch me crash
no time to question...why'd nothing last...

"Angel," Buffy cried as she stumbled down the final stairs. Dawn stopped moving at the foot of the swaying structure and stared at the unmoving body of the sacrificial lamb. Buffy walked, fell and then crawled to his side. She used his broken body to pull herself up and laid herself over him, protecting him from the light that would soon come.

"Giles," she whispered, "Inside. Sunlight."

"Buffy," Giles answered, "You need to get to the hospital. Spike can take Angel to safety."

"Not leaving without him," she said, gripping his shoulders tightly, ignoring the pain flooding from her neck and wrist.

"Buffy..." Giles warned, as Xander ran to call an ambulance.

"Giles," she said, clutching him as sobs wracked her body, "I can't feel him....I can't...feel him."

Spike limped forward to look at the woman he loved and his Grande Sire. When vampires died their bodies turned to dust. This was common knowledge to everyone who stood looking on. The part that wasn't common knowledge to everyone standing there, was that since Spike was Angel's Grande Childe, he could sense Angel's presence. Not where he was just that he was. Giles looked over at Spike asking the silent question.

And Spike shook his head no.


let my spirit pass...
this is, this is...
my...last exit

The ambulance's roar sounded far away to The Slayer inside it. The paramedics could not get her to release the man in her arms and was forced to take them both on the stretcher. Her heartbeat was faint and the man she held had none at all. As they wheeled the couple inside the emergency room, the doctors and nurses stared at the oddity of two on a gurney. The girl's blood was encrusted on her neck and on the chest of the man she held. It was a macabre and sorrowful sight to the waiting staff.

The paramedic whispered to the nurse as she wheeled them into a room for treatment, "The man is dead, but we can't get her to let him go."

"Approximate time of death?" The nurse asked as she pulled the gurney to a stop.

"We're not exactly sure," he answered, still whispering.

"Why is that?" she asked.

"Well, his body temperature has dropped in such a way that he should have been dead for over an hour but rigor mortis has not set in."

The nurse pulled the limp arm of the dead man up and bent it easily. Her eyes widened as she felt his cold skin. Doctors and interns streamed in around her as she stood eerily still. They pried at Buffy's fingers but could not get her to release the corpse she clung to.


wounded is the organ he left all...bloodied on the shore...
gorgeous was his savior, sees her...drowning in his wake...
daily taste the salt of her tears, but...a chance blamed fate...

Buffy woke and found herself still on Angel's prone form and still in her dirty, ripped clothes. She pulled her fingers from the flesh of Angel's shoulders and found large purple bruises on his marble skin where her fingers had been.

"Wake up, Angel," she whispered and waited for the answer that did not come. She shook him gently and then more roughly as the feeling of his spiritual absence sunk into her soul.

"Angel," she said more firmly as tears erupted in her eyes, "Angel, wake up."

No response came from the vampire. His eyes did not flutter, his mouth didn't even twitch.

"Angel," she said, shaking him, "I know you're not dead, goddamn it. Now wake up!"

"Ma'am?" the nurse said, standing awkwardly in the doorway.

"Angel," Buffy said, shaking him more furiously, "Honey, you have to wake up. We're in a hospital. You know how I hate hospitals. Please."

"Ma'am," the nurse repeated, staring at the sobbing girl laying directly on top of the dead man. The nurse shivered at the thought that the girl had lain on top of him for hours while he no longer lived, "I'm sorry, Ms. Summers."

"He's not dead," Buffy said, caressing his face.

"Ms. Summers, we need to remove him from the room," the nurse said as the hospital guards came into view behind her.

"No," Buffy said, shaking her head.

"I'm sorry," the nurse repeated, walking fully into the room, closely flanked by the two guards.

"No," Buffy said, "You're not taking him. He's not dead."

The guards rushed her suddenly and Buffy flipped from Angel and to her feet. The guards momentarily paused her panther-like leap, showing the strength and flexibility of someone in a gym, not a hospital. She landed a solid blow on the first guard but the second was able to grab her from behind.

"Angel!" Buffy screamed. A different vampire responded, storming into the room. Spike kicked the guard who was struggling to stand and ripped the second off of Buffy's tired, weak torso. The nurse backed against the wall and looked down at the beaten guards who were struggling to their feet.

"Don't bloody touch her again," Spike commanded. His eyes flashed golden so quickly that the staff thought that they imagined it. He put a protective arm around Buffy and pulled her close.

"Spike," Buffy sobbed, "Tell them he's not dead. They can't take him away from me."

"Sir," the nurse reasoned with the angry blonde man, "your friend is dead. We have to remove him."

"He's not my friend and he's not dead...exactly," Spike answered.

"We will have to remove him," the nurse repeated as the guards stood and rushed him again. He sleekly dislodged himself from The Slayer and swatted the first guard away. The second guard was caught in the air with Spike's undead hand wrapped around his collapsing throat.

"Sod off," Spike rasped and tossed him across the room, "all of you. No one touches the girl and no one takes him any-fucking-where. Understand?"

The wide-eyed nurse nodded and fled the room, quickly tailed by the two injured guards. He turned to find Buffy sitting on the edge of the bed, staring down at Angel, with large, confused eyes.

"It's alright now, pet," Spike said gently. He waited as she curled herself around Angel again and shook his head as he covered them. She nodded her thanks and held tightly onto Angel, every muscle tensed against him.


i'd rather you...rather you...than her...

Giles paced in the hallway as Spike reappeared from his storming of the room.

"How is she?" Giles asked urgently, looking in at her.

"Lost," Spike answered.

"And Angel?"

"It doesn't make any bloody sense," Spike growled, pacing circles around Giles, his boots marring the sterile floor.

"If he were deceased," Giles conjectured, "His body would be ashes."

"Yeah, that's the rumor," Spike muttered, "but I'm telling you like I already have, my Sire is not in that body!"

Giles and Spike, stood like mismatched British comrades side by side, staring into the room at the girl they both loved clutching the shell of her lover.


Part Two

AUTHOR'S NOTE: ~~~~~~~~~~~ denotes a flashback


don't mean to push, but I'm being shoved

Spike stood outside Buffy's door like a juggernaut. Visions of what he could have changed, how he could have prevented it, shook through his head.


"I made a promise to a lady," Spike answered, feeling every bit of his one hundred twenty plus years. Every inch of his body was prepared for Doc's strike and he easily ducked the dangerous tongue that shot out of the demon's mouth. Doc's reflexes were slightly better than Spike's on a good day and extremely quicker today. When Doc dropped to his knees and pulled Spike's legs out from under him, the vampire knew before he hit the floor that he had failed. He continued to struggle to save the girl, the frightened girl who looked on, but Doc easily overtook him and pinned his arms behind his back.

"Then I'll send the lady your regrets," Doc replied, more than pleased with himself. Spike's whispered "No" barely made it out of his mouth, the look of regret and sorrow barely made it over to Dawn, standing so perilously close to the edge before Doc threw him over. Dawn screamed the "No" that Spike had whispered as he fell.

On his way to the ground below, Spike had plenty of time to think about how he could have changed things, how he could have moved differently, how he had failed Buffy. He moved in slow motion and felt his body hit the ground long before it did. The pile of bricks he landed on was a welcome buffer of feathers compared to what his heart had already landed on.


freezing...rests his head on a pillow made of concrete..again

A slight step to the right, Spike thought, as he went over the scenario again and again in his mind, staring at the wall across from him. A twist of the wrist and I could have been free.

But none of that mattered now. All that mattered was Buffy's peace of mind. That she would be safe with what remained of Angel until they could figure this out. He was a soddin' vampire, for crying out loud, so he couldn't be dead, right?

But an icy chill ran up and down his spine for every second of the ten hours that The Slayer slept. Something was seriously wrong. Spike didn't know how or why, but he couldn't sense his Grand Sire. Not at all.


...scream...my friends...don't call me...
...friends, no they don't scream...
...my friends don't call...my friends don't...

Giles hurried home, immediately following his conversation with Spike to start on some heavy research. As he entered his apartment, he was nearly struck dumb with the realization that Spike's chip did not react when he attacked the guards.

"Oh dear," he muttered, picking up the phone.

Willow and Tara were curled in bed together nursing physical and emotional wounds when Giles called.

"‘Lo?" Willow said, in a sleepy, bed head voice.

"Willow," Giles said, launching into his fear, "I'm truly sorry for interrupting you and Tara, however we have a problem."

"What's up, Giles?"

"Spike's chip seems to have malfunctioned. I need you to check it out as soon as possible. I suddenly fear for the worst," he admitted.

"Um...me too," she said, bolting up in bed and then clutching her already pounding head.

"Willow," Giles urged, "Please, do hurry."

Hanging up the phone. Giles stood by the phone and picked it up again. Dialing quickly, he connected with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.


ransom paid the devil...he whispers pleasing words... triumphant are the angels if they can...a get there first...

Even in her sleep, Buffy's soul searched for Angel's. In her dream, she found him waiting at the edge of a long wooded path. Gnarled trees swayed in fierce winds that neither of them could feel. Large, thick vines seemed to be moving, crawling around the trees and edging onto the narrow, overgrown trail.

"Angel," she whispered, her voice echoing as if they were standing on the edge of a canyon, "I've been looking for you."

"I'm sorry, love," he whispered back, his voice not echoing but sucking away from her, "I've gone."

"But why?" she asked, stepping forward. She took another step, then another but each step carried her no closer to her lover.

"I stole your gift," he said.

"Death," she whispered. He nodded wordlessly and the movement caused him to shimmer, wrecking the still air. She stared in his eyes, which flickered, stirring the demon around in swirls of gold.

"Angel," she said again, her voice that of a small child, "Can't you come back? Can't I find you?"

"No, baby," he said, "You can't come here."


"I've crossed," he answered. The vines began curling around his legs, pulling him away from her. He didn't struggle as they tightened around him and moved over his chest and around his neck.

"Angel!" she screamed, "Angel!"


hold your head deep in my arms...my fingertips they close your eyes...
off you dream...

Buffy woke from her long sleep to find Angel still in the exact position he had been in when she fell asleep. Her throat was dry as if she had really been screaming, but she was sure she hadn't. She caressed his face and heard a rustling in the corner to see Willow whispering to a very agitated Spike.

"What's goin' on?" Buffy said, looking over with confusion.

"Red here is trying -"

"To get him to be quiet," Willow answered smoothly.

"‘Bout what?" Buffy asked, absently caressing Angel's hand.

"Right. We need to get you and Angel outta here without causing a distraction," Spike said, looking fiercely at Willow.

"I'm sure it's illegal in about 49 states to take a corpse out of the hospital," Xander said, leaning against the doorway, gripping a stake in his hand, hidden behind his back just in case.

"He's not a corpse!" Buffy shouted, giving Xander a look that melted his esophagus.

"They think he is," Xander squeaked, stepping into the room, "That's what I meant."

Willow punched his arm and glared briefly before turning back to Buffy, "Spike's gonna carry Angel outside and we can take him to your house."

"Dawn," Buffy said, in a panic, realizing her sister's absence, "Where's Dawn?"

"She's with Anya," Xander said, "I think she's teaching her the fine art of capitalism."


and now my bitter hands cradle broken glass,
of what was everything.

Once Buffy & Angel were safely in bed in Buffy's room, Willow tried a second time to get Spike to let her investigate the chip.

"You're not drilling holes in my bloody head!" Spike yelled.

"I just want a little peek," Willow said, trying to keep her voice low, in an attempt to calm the potentially dangerous vampire down.

"No way, Red," he said, backing away, "There will be no dissecting of Spike. You might fix the bloody thing and then I'm stuck a neutered puppy forever. No way."

He stormed from the room and to the living room, where he said he staying until the "bint" wakes up. Willow sighed and picked up the cordless phone and slipped onto the back porch.

"Hello?" Giles' voice answered.

"Giles," Willow whispered.

"Yes, Willow," he answered, "Are you at Buffy's?"

"Yes," she said, "Spike won't let me look at the chip and he won't tell me if it's working or not."

"And Angel? Has he stirred?"

"No," Willow whispered, "It's like...it's like he's dead."


said he'll see me on the flipside

"How'd you get away?" Buffy whispered to Angel in her dream. Everything around them was concentrated sable oblivion that seeped into every crevice.

"I don't have long," he said swiftly. He pulled her into his arms and much to her relief, his connection was solid. His presence filled her again as if he were really there.

"How can I find you?" She said, her voice muffled against his chest.

"You can't," he answered, meeting her eyes sadly.

"I don't understand," she said, "You're a vampire. Your body is here. You can't be dead."

"This is different," he said, tracing the delicate line of her jaw.


"Death," he whispered, "took the wrong soul. You were supposed to be here and they took me instead. My body is left, just like yours would have been. I broke the rules."


oh, never was for you...fuck you...
this is not for you...
oh, this is not for you...yeah, you...

Buffy woke up in a panic and looked down at Angel's closed eyes. The truth of his words sank in as she looked at him. She blinked back tears and shook him.

"Angel," she ordered loudly, "Wake up."

She shook him, each movement causing the next to become more and more fierce until she was pounding his shoulders and chest, screaming for him to wake up. The commotion caused Dawn, Willow, Spike and Xander to come running into the room.

Buffy was sobbing and screaming as she pounded on her absent lover to wake. He didn't move and continued not moving until Spike pulled her off of him. She punched him, sending him flying across the room and into her vanity.

"Why won't you wake up?" She screamed, launching herself back at him, "You stole it! You weren't supposed to have it! It was mine."

Her last three words were repeated in desperate sobs as she collapsed on his chest, "It was mine...it was mine....it was mine..."


Part Three


you're an angel when you sleep...
how i want your soul to keep of and all around the bend.

The tiny shards that made up Buffy's pain, quickly became a squall of anger and determination, broadly sketching conflict over her friends' faces. She stood and for the first time since the portal closed, she left his side.

"Buffy," Willow whispered, with the same kind of fear she had felt deep in her heart since Angel made his descent from the tower, "Where are you going?"

"First to the shower," Buffy answered with a grimace of pain as she moved her stiff body, "then to find him."

"Find him?" Xander asked.

"Yes," she said, "they took the wrong soul and I'm going to get it back."

"T-the wrong soul?" Willow asked wide eyed as she watched Buffy's retreating form march down the hallway to the bathroom door. Xander turned and met Willow's eyes. The best friends spun and ran from the room, down the stairs and out the front door.


i miss you already, yeah...i miss you always...

Buffy sat on the edge of the bed, after she had finished dressing and looked at Angel one last time before she left the house in search of his soul. He looked beautiful and peaceful there, as if nothing could touch him. She was almost certain that if the sunlight came streaming into the room, it would dare not harm him, but become engrossed in the creature, as she was.

A small quantity of fear lay buried underneath a mangled nest of resolve and she made no attempt to unearth it. She stood and placed a gentle kiss on his cold lips and for once she was consciously thankful that his lips were always cold. If they hadn't been, she might've started to believe that he could not be saved, that he was already dead. The truth was, he had been dead for a couple of centuries and his flawless skin was deceivingly comfortable inside the realm of pain. She knew he could trick the underworld or other world, into keeping him on the fringes, where he could be found. She knew she would find him and bring him home, even if she had to persuade every hellbeast on the other side that this demon belonged to her.


can't deny there's something wrong...

"We've come to the same unnerving realization, Willow," Giles said, waving his hand absently at Wesley and Cordelia, who sat on the couch caught somewhere between illusion and reality, where the double portal-ness of this week had left them juiced and unscrewed.

"I never said what I was panicking about," Willow said with a pout.

"Very well, Willow," Giles said, "What are you panicking about?"

"Angel's soul...oh forget it," she said, pulling herself upright from her slumping position against the door.

"We need to get some magic stuff and recurse him before he wakes up!" Xander's edgy voice said.

"I'm not sure that's possible," Giles said, running a hand through his graying hair and sitting wearily at his desk.

"What do you mean?" Cordy demanded, snapping out of her confusion.

"His soul is not trapped in the same place that it is when the demon takes over. This is...well, it's different. His soul is in an afterlife of sorts."

"Then where's Angelus?" Spike asked, letting himself in Giles' front door.

"That's what's confusing," Wesley said, inserting himself into the conversation at last, "We cannot ascertain why Angelus did not take over the body when the soul left."

"Spike," Giles said, looking at the vampire for guidance, "You said that you cannot sense your Sire?"

"No, it's bizarre, that is," Spike answered, strolling in the room, "Never recall this happening when there wasn't a pile of dust involved."

"I imagine so," Wesley added, "This is an extraordinary circumstance."

"Mr. States the Obvious strikes again," Xander muttered.

"Xander," Giles said, leaving the rest of the sentence unspoken.

"Alright, sorry," Xander said, "But we gotta so something before he wakes up and starts killing people."

"Or worse," Willow said, looking around the room.

"There's a worse? What the hell is worse than Angelus?" Cordy asked.

"If he never wakes up," Willow said, looking around the room at the perplexed faces, "Buffy won't ever get over it if he doesn't wake up. Not if he did it to save her."


she don't wander in...don't wander in here, she...
she don't wander in here...don't wander in here...

Buffy didn't stumble across the spell to get to The Powers That Be, she didn't just happen to find it on her way to get to the meat and bone of the matter. The spell had lain tucked safely inside the pages of her journal for a long, long time.

The first time Riley made love to her, that very night she dreamt of another lover, who couldn't have a heartbeat but did, who shouldn't breathe promises of love against her ear, but had. The Day That Wasn't unraveled itself and slithered into her memories a little tighter every night, until she slept just to pull him down inside her again. It took a long time for her to begin to think that the dreams were memories and longer than that to actually believe it.

Humane patterns of logic and reason kept her from knowing for sure until she saw him again. The pain and anger that broke through in every word he spoke to her forced her to admit the truth. He was angrier than he had ever been at her that night when Faith went away to jail. Every syllable that he spoke was propaganda for his cause, even though he no longer believed it was his.

Instead of telling him she knew, that she had kept her promise and remembered, she unleashed the frustration she felt for the loss of the future she would never know. She was furious that he had given up his humanity, that he would have allowed her to go on with her life without the gift of that memory. Nothing had ever felt so perfect as lying against his chest and listening to the impossibly precious sound of his heartbeat.

When he ordered her out of LA, she stopped by his apartment to pick up her things and found the instructions to the gateway and the spell. No, she didn't stumble upon it, she searched for it. Scrawling her own copy, she shoved it in her pocket before she left town.

She wasn't sure what she had intended to do with it. But now it all made sense. She needed this spell that could have been lost with the explosion of the building. It could be stored inside Angel's mind and nowhere else for all she knew, if she hadn't taken it that night. She had looked back on it in weak moments so many times, that the paper was heavily creased and the words were smudged. It didn't matter that it was barely legible because she had memorized it long before.

i will walk...with my hands bound
i will walk...with my face blood
i will walk...with my shadow flag
into your garden, garden of stone...

She stood before the sacred white doorway and performed the ritual, only half believing she would gain access. But with a final toss of the potion, she saw white smoke pour from the opening that appeared before her.

She stepped inside and looked around anxiously. No one met her at the entrance and no one stopped her from walking down the great hall where the Augeries stored legends and souls. The walls whispered, smoothing emotions over her skin, stopping and resuming in time with her heartbeats.

"Why have you disturbed us?" the Augeries demanded, sounding like a man and a woman speaking in time with each other, but far away from the other half of the voice, as if they surrounded her but did not give her the comfort of being embraced.

"I've come for Angel," she said, trying to keep her voice strong.

"The vampire," they said, sounding as if they were nodding their invisible heads.

"Yes," she answered, "I want his soul back."

"A soul was the price for the world," they answered.

"But it was supposed to be me," she protested, "You can't keep him here. He doesn't belong here!"

"The soul matters not," they replied, "We have given you enough gifts, warrior."

"Gifts?!" Buffy yelled, "What damn gifts have I gotten lately? I sure as hell didn't get death. Angel took that and you took him! Now I have nothing!"

"We have kept the demon from emerging," they answered, "We gave you the gift of his absence."

"Angelus?" Buffy asked lightly.

"Yes," they said, seeming to nod invisible heads again and Buffy could almost feel the wind alter with the movements she imagined them having.

"But..." she said, "You have to return his soul! You've lost a warrior now. You need him."

"One of you was to be lost," they answered, "It was always the way. He cheated you from your gift...and has given you another. He wishes to stay."

"He wishes to stay?" She asked.

"In exchange for your life, he has given his...again."

"No," she yelled, "He doesn't have a right and neither do you! Give him back! I want him to sit up and walk! He has earned his redemption! He deserves to move and live!"

"You wish him to awaken?" They asked.

"Yes, goddamn it," she shouted, "What do you think we have been talking about?"

"Very well," they answered.

She fell hard back against the sewer wall. Without thinking another thought, she stood and ran towards the Jeep to take her back home.


the direction of the eye, so misleading
the defection of the soul, nauseously quick

Just before morning came, an hour after Buffy was tossed from the inner sanctum of The Powers That Be, Spike went inside Buffy's house to watch after Dawn. Giles, Wesley, Cordelia, Xander, Anya, Willow and Tara all had their research positions with their heads bowed over dusty volumes as they searched for anything that could prevent what was most certainly coming - or not coming. No one was sure which scenario was worse, only that neither one was very desirable.

"Nibblet?" Spike called as he closed the door behind the quickly approaching early morning rays. He made his way up the stairs and cracked her bedroom door open to find her soundly asleep. He leaned against the doorway and looked in at her for a few minutes, watching her troubled slumber. The little girl was scarred for life, he was sure of that.

Now that the chip was no longer functioning, he knew he could take three steps across the room and sip every warm drop of blood from her tiny body. Would she taste like The Slayer? But he felt no desire to do so and was more than a little confused by that new experience. He didn't want to kill her, he wanted to protect her. He used to want to protect her just for Buffy, but along the way, he had grown to care for the smallest Summer's girl.

Fucking strange.

What was stranger was the creeping stillness that clambered into his body and hurried through his veins, reclaiming it's rightful place, as it had for over a century. He quietly shut Dawn's door and went to Buffy's bedroom door, clenching his teeth. Sure enough, his Grande Sire blinked his eyes and sat up in bed.

Spike waited for several storm tossed moments as Angel gathered his bearings, looking around the room. Orange flames of fear quaked through Spike's undead body as the cold, soulless eyes of Angelus settled on him. This feeling of fear, that only one demon could strangle him with, was causing an argument of fight or flight to bat itself back and forth in his mind.

Angelus swung his legs over the side of the bed and finally opened his mouth to speak, "You done staring at me, Spike?"

Spike stiffened at his voice - at his Sire's voice, the voice that commanded, killed and made no attempt to feel mercy.

"What took you so long to wake up?" Spike asked, surprised by his own reluctance to even step into the room.

"The Powers That Be," Angelus said, "Tricky, tricky. They had me trapped there. They wanted to keep me, but they knew they couldn't."

"Why not?" Spike asked with a grim smile, "Wouldn't have bothered me if you had stayed all still and quiet like. I didn't mind you so much for a minute there."

"Well, they'll tell you that The Slayer set me free, but that's not *exactly* true, although she did speed up the process a bit."

"Well don't keep me in suspense."

"They're kinda like the police," Angelus answered as he stood and stretched, "They think they can hold you, but then you're released on a technicality."

"What technicality?" Spike asked, confused by Angelus' token cryptic logic.

"They can house a soul and keep it suspended forever, but I don't have a soul. That's somewhere else. Their goodness can't hold true evil. Besides, it's not really their gig. They move the puppet strings, but free will fucks ‘em up every time."

"What are you going to do about The Slayer?" Spike asked trying to act casual and evil, but came across as the lovesick puppy Angelus knew him to be.

"I know you're in love with her Spike. What are you the black knight?"

Spike stood silent and waited for Angelus to answer his question.

"Don't worry, Spike," he said, crossing the room, "I'm not going to kill her. Not right away anyway."

"What are you going to do then?" Spike asked.

"Well," Angelus said, stepping into Spike's dance space and taking it over as he glared down at his Childe, "First of all, I'm going to tell you to walk out of this house and wait for me to call you. You are back on my team. You don't have a soul, so quit trying to pretend you do. I, on the other hand, am going to pretend I have one for a little while, so I strongly suggest you keep your mouth shut. If I find out you mentioned me to any of them, I will kill you before I kill them. Got it?"

"Yeah, mate," Spike said, backing away, "Got it. Won't tell anyone."

"Glad to hear it," Angelus said, turning and flopping back down on the bed, "I'll just wait here for Buffy to come find me. You get the hell out."

Spike turned on his heel and shut the bedroom door behind him. He hurried to Dawn's room and picked up her sleeping form. Grabbing her blanket and tossing it over the both of them, he ran with the Slayer's sister out into the day that was far less dangerous than what waited for The Slayer inside the house.


Part Four

By Tango

RATING: NC-17 Warning, this one's naughty

AUTHOR'S NOTE: ~~~~~~~~~~~ denotes a flashback


my nemesis, a fool, not a fucking god

"Giles," Willow asked carefully, "What happened to Glory? Shouldn't we think of how to bind her strength or something?"


The dark sky that Ben was looking into became Giles, who kneeled beside him, "Can you move?"

"Need a ....a minute. She could've killed me," Ben answered, taking painful breaths.

"No she couldn't. Never...and sooner or later Glory will re-emerge and make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that," Giles said as he calmly reached into his pocket, took out his glasses and put them on as he continued to speak, "and still she couldn't take a human life. She's a hero, you see. She's not like us."

"Us?" Ben asked. His question went unanswered as Giles reached down and put his hand over Ben's nose and mouth. Ripper calm expression remained throughout the murder. There would be no more Glory. Not after today. The world would be free of The Beast at long last.


"She's no longer...an issue," Giles said calmly, looking around the room with a frightening amount of serenity and reserve, much colder than Giles' normal stature.

"You killed her?" Xander asked, scratching his head with confusion.

"I killed him" Giles corrected. They all had a second for the new information to sink in, the understanding that Giles had killed an innocent human being, when Spike stormed in and unloaded a wiggling and screaming Dawn on her feet inside Giles' flat and pulled the blanket off of his head.


i'll wait for an angel, but I won't hold my breath

Buffy slammed the Jeep in park and ran into the house calling out, "Angel?"

She detected him hunching his way under her skin and knew that he had awaken just as The Powers had promised. She skipped up the stairs two at the time and arrived breathless at her bedroom door to find the bed desolately empty. An impression of his form lay in his place, the pillow concave where his head had been. She checked every room in the house before going back out the door into the night.

but we unleashed a lion

The mansion was eerily still and quiet but Buffy knew she would find him there. He sat by the fireplace which held no spark or light and stared at the wall in front of him. Her small feet were moving quickly with a pitter patter against the marble floor and Angelus was a slave to the sound, desperately anxious for her hot blooded flesh to come inside the room. This was starvation, he knew, for the flesh and blood his weaker half had gone so long without. He leaned back with his eyes closed and waited for her.

Buffy knew he was there, she felt him as clearly and fluidly as he felt her and ached with starvation of a different breed. She opened the door and paused there looking at him.

"Angel?" She asked tentatively as she walked toward him.

"Buffy," Angelus whispered trying to maintain a look of pain and confusion. She ran into his arms and held onto him.


i saw the strain creep in...
he seems distracted and i know just what is gonna happen next...
before his first step...he is off again...

"What's going on?" Dawn's voice squealed into a yell, causing Spike to wince.

"Calm down, little bit," Spike said, "I just saved your bloody life."

"From what? The last hour of sleep before school?" Dawn whined.

"From Angelus," he answered, meeting Giles eyes directly. The whole apartment fell into shocked silence. All expected it to happen, yet no one was prepared for it. No one can ever be completely prepared for the unleashing of The Scourge of Europe.

"Oh shit," Cordy swore, standing up to pace, "What the hell are we going to do?"

"I can recurse him," Willow offered.

"No," Giles said, shaking his head slowly, "I'm not sure that will work this time. The loss of his soul wasn't caused by a moment of happiness, but through the key. We aren't even sure where his soul is or what hell dimension he's in."

"Quite right," Wesley said, standing up to symbolize his complete agreement, "We ought to start trying to find an alternative way to re-ensoul him."

"Whatever happens," Spike said, "I'm going back to the house. Buffy's gonna come back sooner or later and Angelus looked a bit peckish, if you know what I mean."

"Good plan," Giles said, but Spike was already out the door, covered in Dawn's fluffy blue comforter.

"I don't trust him," Xander said, edging towards the door, looking out to see the vampire running in the daylight.

"Me either," Willow said with a shiver.

"Why not?" Dawn said, with her hands resting on her pajama clad hips, "He's got the chip."

"It's not working," Willow explained tenderly.

"He loves Buffy," Dawn said, defending the vampire, "He would never hurt her."

"Nevertheless," Giles said, "I think it's a good idea to follow him and warn Buffy."

"On my way," Xander said, shrugging into his jacket and scooping up a crossbow.

"I'll go too," Cordelia offered, following him to the door.

"Well, I'm not leaving you alone with Xander," Anya said, standing as well. She held Xander's arm protectively with one hand and a stake with the other. Cordelia rolled her eyes as she joined the couple on their trek to Buffy's house.


hold on to the thread...the currents will shift...glide me towards you know something's left.
and we're all allowed to dream of the next time we touch...

When Spike didn't find Angelus at Buffy's house, he headed directly to the mansion, just as she had. He crept into the old building, blending into the elements and the shreds of his conscience. He peeked around the doorway, depending on the stone wall to hide him. There, a few feet away, Angelus took Buffy into his arms and began kissing the lips Spike had dreamt about for months. He waited for Buffy to realize the vampire she kissed was without a soul. And he was kept waiting, as Angelus unbuttoned her shirt with nimble fingers.

Spike crept an inch closer and kept wide eyes on the golden flesh that appeared. Angelus drew out round, firm breasts topped with rosy, erect nipples that left Spike's mouth watering as they were sucked, one then the other, between his Grande Sire's lips. Spike watched her face twist into pleasure - eyes closed, mouth slack. Her arousal smelled like freshly plucked delirium floating to him, alerting panic in his undead heart.

Angelus' hands moved over Buffy's body, his movements painfully exact, showing Spike passion he was sure before today that he would never see in her. She flamed against her lover and he thought it was more than annoying the way Angelus performed the feat with ease. He couldn't have turned away even if he wanted to as his Grande Sire's hands landed on The Slayer's slim hips and began to slide her pants away. Released of material bounds, Buffy moaned his name, not bothering to think about the curse, and unbuttoned his shirt, kissing the cold flesh as it appeared. Angelus hid his smile of triumph as he slid his fingers into her dripping heat.

"Angel," she moaned again as he slipped his fingers into her and glided his thumb over her clit. Losing patience, he quickly rid himself of his pants, lowered them both to the hard, dusty floor and plunged inside her. Spike sucked in room temperature air as Angelus began relentlessly fucking her with thrusts that would've caused even Darla or Dru to mewl in pain. The Slayer winced from the force of his movements but opened wider and rocked back against him in desperation of being separated from her lover for so long.

Buffy cried out in pleasure and pain, temporarily losing herself in him, rolling in just the presence of him. But the longer they had sex, the more she realized with terror that he was fucking her - not making love to her. There was no tenderness in his touch, no murmurings of love.

"Oh God," she moaned half in pleasure and half in fear, as he continued to pound against her, bruising her flesh. This was the wrong demon awakened. A cold smile twisted over his desire and he reached between her legs to roughly twist and pinch her clit between his fingers, causing a violent orgasm to rip through her.

"That's it, Buff," he said with an evil sneer.

Tears fell from her eyes even as her body continued to shake in the aftermath of her climax as Angelus moved inside her. She reached up and touched his face, forcing his cold soulless eyes to meet hers.

"Angel," she whimpered, as if saying his name would restore his soul.

"Yeah baby," he answered as his face reverted to demon form and his eyes twisted golden. He lowered to her neck and inserted his fangs, breaking open his mark on her.

two steps ahead of him, punctures in your neck...

Spike leaned forward, pressing his arousal against the hard wall and waited for The Slayer to push Angelus away, waited for him to stop drinking. When the normal tasting time ended, when the sipping turned to gulping, Spike knew that Angelus intended to drain Buffy completely. And she was going to let it happen.

As her blood touched his tongue, Angelus experienced a mind numbing orgasm. As his seed poured into her, halting his feed didn't even cross his mind. Spike jumped out and ran towards the copulating couple. Angelus heard his childe and flung his arm back, catching Spike across the chest, sending him flying across the room. Angelus withdrew from The Slayer's depths and stood boldly naked.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk, Spikey," Angelus taunted as his childe gathered his footing. Buffy stumbled to her feet weakly and prepared to run out but Angelus grabbed her arm and pulled her back to his body. Faint from the loss of blood, she stood, leaning heavily against his bare skin.

"Come on, pet," Spike said, holding out his hand, "I'll help you get out of here. He can't beat us both."

"Think again," Angelus said, grinning, "She's weak and I'm pumped full of Slayer blood. I don't think you're gonna beat me."

"Let her go," Spike growled, still beckoning for Buffy to join him.

"What's the matter, Spike? You pussy whipped for pussy you haven't had?"

"Sod off," Spike answered, "I'm not going to let you kill her."

"You're not going to let me kill her," Angelus growled back, "You obviously have gone too long without a lesson."

Buffy stood swaying against him as the two verbally tossed back and forth, taking inventory of her available strength. The loss of blood was fairly severe and her mind was buzzing with their words, only half of them making it to her ears and less than that understood.

"Come on, Buffy," Spike repeated, taking a step toward them. His eyes were swirling golden and he suddenly felt like he was starving. He hadn't fed since before the chip malfunctioned and the warm blood resting at the base of her throat was calling out to him. His intentions were beginning to dissolve even as he held his hand out for her.

"I don't think so," Angelus growled, stepping back, "Get the hell out!"

"We will, as soon as we have Buffy," Xander said with a crossbow aimed at Angelus, trying not to notice the blatant nudeness of the pair. Angelus pulled Buffy over his heart, blocking the bow's aim.

Using the distraction, Spike charged, running full force into his Sire knocking him away from Buffy. Turning, he scooped Buffy's slight naked body his arms and ran out of the mansion, followed by Xander, Cordelia and Anya. Buffy allowed him to take her, lost in shock of what had just happened and what almost happened.

Spike could hear Angelus' roar of anger as he stopped to cover himself with the blanket and wrapped his duster around the naked Slayer. He made it back to the Summers' house safely and fairly unsinged and thought amazingly that he had been out in the sun more the last couple of months than he had for his whole time as a vampire.

"I don't fucking get it, love," Spike growled as he took her back inside her house and set her on her bed, "You let him...what the bloody hell were you thinking?"

She stared at him, wrapped in his black leather duster, blonde hair cascading over it, blood from her neck touching the collar, eyes wide with tears streaming from them. Spike sat on the edge of the bed, listening to his head pound with hunger, willing his face to remain human.

"You were going to let him kill you, weren't you?"

Her tears came more generously then and her shoulders shook as she sobbed. He pulled her into his arms and she continued to weep for Angel's loss.

"He's gone," she muffled into his chest.

"We'll get him back," Spike said, dangerously close to her open wound. He could just lower his head an inch and he would be there. Fangs wouldn't even be necessary to suck the blood from her throat.

"Don't know if we can this time," She said as she continued to weep. Weak, wounded and completely defeated, she barely felt the vampire's lips touch her neck.

once upon a time i could control myself.
once upon a time i could lose myself.


Part Five

FEEDBACK: Thank you for the feedback everyone! And Jenn - you're evil *g* - and you've nudged me toward finishing more quickly. This is for you!


memories back when she was bold and strong
and waiting for the world to come along...
swears she knew it, now she swears he's gone

Angelus dressed quickly and ran after his fleeing childe and his Slayer. He'd be damned if he'd let that little bleach blonde bastard take his woman. He shook his head in irritation as he closed in on the Summer's house. He couldn't believe that Spike had them all convinced, not only that he was good in some way but that he was actually capable of love! It was ridiculous. He knew what vampires were capable of in the arena of love and although most were not as relentlessly cruel as himself, none were capable of real love.

He climbed up and perched outside her window, sitting on his hunches, prepared to strike. Spike had brought her in and wrapped his duster around her naked body as if he were a knight in goddamn shining armor. He gathered the tiny Slayer into his arms and held her as she cried. Angelus kept his anger in check as his childe touched his mate and waited for the moment he knew was about to arrive, his cue to take action.


you guys ready...

"Xander," Anya complained as she ran to keep up with him, "Do you really think that Spike will do something to hurt Buffy? I mean, we're not even sure if the chip is working or not. It might have just malfunctioned that one time. Besides, my feet hurt and I don't want to run anymore."

"As usual," Cordy snorted as she followed with much less difficulty, "Xander is sweeping to save his precious Buffy."

"Hey!" Xander said, puffing out tired breaths as they neared Buffy's house, "She's in danger. Spike is dangerous. I promise, you can't trust that guy. Now come on."

He sped up, picking up the pace as he ran through the front door and slowed down to creep up the stairs, nearly causing his current girlfriend and his ex to slam into his back.

"Damn it, Xander," Cordy sneered, but felt as if she really had been missing this sort of action. Sunnyhell was...well...Sunnyhell and she had no want or need to return here, but she kind of missed the Scoobies. Just a little.

Anya kept a sharp eye peeled on Cordelia Chase as they all huddled together to climb the stairs, all braced for what they were about to see or what they needed to do. Little Miss Ex X, needed to be looked after. No woman who just happened to be Xander's ex-kitten, could be left alone even for a second with her man. She was sure that Cordelia would attempt to steal him if she wasn't careful. Vengeance demon memories sprung to her mind. If it weren't for Cordelia, she never would have met Xander. Of course, Xander did cheat on her. The thought set off alarms as they inched toward Buffy's bedroom. If he cheated on Cordelia with Willow, what were the chances he would cheat on her with Cordelia or some one else?


life comes...i can feel your heart...
ooh...life comes...i can feel your heart through your neck...
life comes...i can feel your heart through your neck...
like some...i can steal your heart from your neck...

Buffy was sobbing so hard at the loss of Angel and the horrifying return of Angelus, that for a second she didn't feel his lips gently touch her neck. Spike's tongue lashed out and scooped up a taste of Slayer blood resting over her scar. He felt his body begin to charge with the taste of warm blood and tingle with the electrifying power of Slayer blood. He clamped his lips on her neck without another thought of love or Buffy and began to suck.

Buffy felt it clearly when Spike began draining her life's blood away. Her protest scratched through her throat and she vaguely heard Xander yell Spike's name as she pushed him away and across the room with a last charge of Slayer strength. She watched as Spike crashed against her closet door with her blood on his lips, which he quickly licked away. Xander stood at her doorway, crossbow aimed at Spike, with Cordelia and Anya standing behind him, struggling to peer in.

Angelus swung casually through the window and dropped silently to the hard wood floor with a deadly smile on his face. Ignoring Xander, who he knew wouldn't dare try to kill him with Buffy there, he grabbed Spike by the lapels and raised him up from the floor, off of it completely and slammed him against her closet door.

"How dare you touch my mate," Angelus said through a growl, "No one kills her but me!"

"Fuck you," Spike choaked.

"I've had enough of your I'm-so-good-and-in-love-with-The-Slayer bullshit," Angelus lamented, "We both know you don't love her."

"Yes, I do," Spike protested, but the room barely caught his words and Angelus threw him through her window. Spike took a set of blinds with him as he crashed through the glass. When he landed on the ground, shards of the window were rolling down the roof onto him, but Angelus didn't directly follow.

Angelus was still standing in the bedroom looking at the nearly defenseless Slayer. He smiled at her wickedly, "See ya soon, baby," he whispered, before he smoothly jumped out the window and landed on the ground next to Spike, who was just getting to his feet.


feels so manly, when armed
glorified version of a pellet gun

Xander felt oddly heroic and was a bit weirded out as he swept Buffy into his arms and took her downstairs to be buckled into his car and taken to the hospital for her second blood transfusion in a week. The tiny, now frail Slayer in his arms, wearing Spike's leather duster, was once all he ever wanted. Following closely, was his scrutinizing fiancee and his ex. The three beautiful women, all now or at one time at had been the object of his night time fantasies, and it was a surreal feeling.

He placed Buffy in the back seat gently and waited for Anya and Cordy to climb in before he headed for the hospital. Strangely calm and freaked out at the same time, Xander Harris knew he was going to have nightmares about this day. Nightmares and possibly messy wet dreams.


in love...ah ha ha ha...
...follows torture...follows reward...

"You little fuck," Angelus swore as he picked Spike's glass strewn body up and tossed him against the tree in agitation.

"Get the hell away from me," Spike muttered as he picked himself out of the tree and attempted to walk away. He was free and in bloodlust and guilty. He wanted to follow Xander's car to the hospital and finish her off. He longed to lick the wound in her throat and crunch in like a rapid dog. He craved a chance to make love to her and spend eternity apologizing. He itched to find an innocent on the street and rip her throat out. He wanted, more than anything, to get away from his Grande Sire.

"Oh no you don't," Angelus said, kicking his retreating back, sending him face first into the Summers' yard.

"Oh bloody hell," Spike complained to the grass before climbing to his feet...again, "What? You reserve the right to claim any bint you want and I have to be the good little childe because you're my damn Sire! That's bullshit!"

"Yes," Angelus said as he regained his composure, "I can keep you starving a in fucking corner for the rest of your unlife if I want to. But this isn't about that. This about my mate."

"Oh your mate, is she?" Spike said, a laugh issuing from his bloody face, "That's rich!"

"Oh come Spike, you've been trying to get what's mine your whole life. Still crying over Dru and nipping at The Slayer's coattails. You never change."

"Oh but you do," Spike said, lighting a cigarette, "First you have a soul, then you don't, then you bloody do! First you want Buffy, then you don't...and on and on! I can't keep up with your mood swings."

The recently lighted smoke was crushed into his face, singing it before falling to the ground, as Angelus' fist contacted with it.

"Be clear on a few things, boy," Angelus growled, "Buffy is mine. Always was. Always will be. If I want to fuck her, I will. If I want to kill her or turn her, I will. She belongs to me. If she dies and is in the damn ground, you don't have a right to cry over her grave! Either you obey or you die, it's as simple as that. I'm tire of you pussy-footing around my property."

"Whatever," Spike said, "You've been gone for a long time. A lot has changed. She trusts me now...or did for a second there."

"Oh poor Spikey," Angelus snarled, "Did you fuck things up by not being able to control yourself? Well, I'm *so* surprised."

"Shut up," Spike said, unable to defend himself.

"She's got the perfect pussy," Angelus whispered, hovering next to Spike's ear, "Sorry, you're never gonna know, *mate*."

Spike sucked in a breath. He knew Angelus was taunting him, trying to get to him, but it was working in the worse way. He also knew that it was the truth...evil, yes, but completely true. He did screw it up and there was no turning back now. With Angel's soul gone, the world he knew was about to crumble and he had no idea how to stop it. He pulled in an unneeded breath as he searched his pockets for another cigarette, finding his pack on the ground with one broken cigarette remaining. Great, this just adds to his prefect, rotting day.

"Probably as perfect as her blood," Spike muttered as he tossed the pack away with irritation.

"Mmmm, guess you'll never know," Angelus said, strolling away, "One day, maybe you'll be done sniffing after my seconds, Spike."


maker of my enemies...

Giles, Wesley, Cordelia, Xander, Anya, Willow and Tara all stood and sat around the hospital waiting room, while Buffy received her second blood transfusion. Talk about the weirdest month of relentless stress and out-and-out craziness. Starting with the Winnebago chase through the desert and ending with tonight, they all were exhausted and near the edge.

The only one who wasn't tired was Angelus who strolled through the ER doors and headed for the scent of his mate's blood. None of the Scoobies saw him, since he didn't need to walk past them to get to her, but the nurses did. The same nurse who had tried to get his corpse from the ward before, now stood with her mouth open in shock.

"I'm looking for my girlfriend," he said, covering his face with worry, as he spoke to the slack jawed nurse.

"Y-you're dead," she stuttered.

"Nah," Angelus said, unable to resist showing her his charming smile, "I was just in a little coma. But I finally woke up."

She stood frozen watching him as he sauntered to Buffy's room and looked in at her sleeping form, veins full of new blood. He felt bloodlust and arousal rush his system just looking at her, pale and broken there. Bruises from his sex and abuse, marred her perfect skin, making her look weak in her sleep. The bandaged gash in her throat was calling to be rebroken and he tread across to her bed.

The alarm on the nurse's station began to beep loudly as Angelus pulled the IV from her arm. The nurses came running but found the room barren of patient and the recent man who had returned from the dead. Guards could have been chasing a ghost as they tore through the hospital, alerting the Scoobies and everyone else that Buffy had been taken.


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